Learning how to breathe to the side is one of the most challenging aspects of learning to swim the Front Crawl for children and adults alike. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be discouraging and it can actually be fun. Below are some steps that will allow you to perfect your rotary breathing.
Step 1: Breathing out of your nose
Stand in shoulder deep water and practice pushing bubbles out of your nose as you keep your mouth tightly shut. Practice this motion until you feel comfortable with it, coming up for air when you need to breathe by opening your mouth and taking a breath.
Tip: Try to remember that while your head is underwater you should be pushing bubbles out of your nose only – it can be tricky to get used to, but it’s like learning a bike in that you won’t forget it once you’ve learned.
Step 2: Breathing out of your mouth to the side
Once you feel comfortable with pushing bubbles out of your mouth in the water and opening your mouth once you need to breathe, head over to the gutter or side of the pool and grab on.
Work on bringing your chin to your chest as you gaze down towards the bottom of the pool and slowly blow out the bubbles out of your nose (with your mouth shut still).
When you have pushed out all the air rotate your gaze so that your chin is to the shoulder of whichever side you choose to breathe to.
Tip: Don’t worry about trying to perfect breathing to the side on both sides right away. Pick a side that works for you and stick to it – don’t flip flop back and forth between sides until you are comfortable with the entire movement.
Tip: Grab a kick board and hold on to the edge of it, making sure your arms are extended. Continue to breathe to the side as you make full arm strokes and return your hand to the board after each stroke. Practice this movement on the wall and when you are ready add in the kick board and propel yourself forward by kicking and making arm movements.
Step 3: Breathing
Once you feel confident with Steps 1-2 you should be ready to take on the full movement. Continue to work on rotating your gaze and chin to your shoulder while you breathe to the side and bringing your chin back to your chest when your face returns to the water.
Tip: A stroke kick is going to help you immensely during the beginning stages. The appropriate kick for front crawl with rotary breathing is the flutter kick (straight legs).