Beginner Swimming Tip #1: Don’t Forget to Breathe!

The clouds parted yesterday evening just long enough for me to get some laps in.

lap pool

I haven’t swam laps since last summer and it showed. Lucky that I had the pool to myself so I could flop around gracelessly without veering into someone’s lane and giving them a bloody nose.


I spent an hour the evening before getting deep into high elbow catch vs. straight-arm freestyle on YouTube, but too bad I couldn’t put it to use. Ever heard that expression look before you leap? Yesterday, I forgot to breathe before I stroked. 

Seriously though! Was it always this hard to breathe while swimming? Because I could not catch a rhythm at all. I was practicing sighting (if sighting means looking for birds in the sky), water was getting in my ears, I was going every other stroke, and then every fourth stroke, and then bilateral the way I like it, and then hey let’s just hold our breath for a while, shall we?!

So then I came home and did some googling and what popped up? “Common Freestyle Flaws and How To Fix Them” on, in which the first point is:

take a breather -

Where was that helpful reminder two days ago?!

High elbow catch, take a backseat. Here are some specific things I’ll be working on in the next few sessions to make breathing in the pool easier:

  • Exhaling fully, at a steady pace, when my head is in the water to make sure that I get a full breathe when it’s time. I do okay at this most of the time, but every once in a while I try to hold my breath.
  • Keeping my head steady under water by focusing on the black stripe on the bottom of the pool.
  • When I’m ready, breathing parallel to the water by gently turning my head to the side. I’m really good at either lifting my head out of the water or rotating my head too much towards the sky. Both of these things can cause momentum to slow and lead to a stiff neck.

I fought the good fight and got 2 x 15 min intervals in…a good enough starting place to me!

Always, Sierra

When’s the last time you went swimming?

Do you feel graceful in the water?

Any favorite swimming pool games? Growing up, mine was color shark. One person gets out and faces away from the pool. Everybody in the pool picks a color, and the person that’s out of water starts calling random colors. If yours gets called you quietly swim to the other side of the pool. If the shark hears you, they can jump in and catch you, but if they turn and no one’s moving, they have to take one step farther from the pool. So much fun!

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