Swimming requires a continuous oxygen supply and release of CO2 in order to meet the energy demands of your body, while training or competing. 60 breaths per minute is the maximum respiratory rate at which we can deliver oxygen efficiently through our lungs. But even that is not enough for our body to keep up with our energy demands. Maximizing our breathing capability and capacity is key to great swimming.
Breathing More Efficiently
Empty your lungs by exhaling into the water before rotating your head for a breath. You should not hold your breath while swimming down the lane, but exhaling as you swim. It is also important to remember not to over rotate your head when taking a breath, eyes should be on the lane-line next to you, not the ceiling.
Pretty much every movement in swimming is connected to your core. Breathing is no different. Tighten your core when taking a breath. It will keep you in proper body alignment and help stop your legs from bowing.
Breathing on both sides while swimming freestyle. You may not want to bi-lateral breathe during meets but you should always train bi-laterally.
Why should you do it?
It balances your stroke. Having a weaker side leaves you susceptible to injuries.
Teaches you to control your breathing.
Helps you swim straighter.
Gives you better side to side roll.
Studies have shown that the way you breath during freestyle has major effect on both technique and speed.
Taking extra breaths before the wall.
This is a breathing technique only recommended for distance swimming- anything above a 400. It is especially useful in a 50 meter pool! Use double breathing sparingly- and not at every turn.
While it can be beneficial when you need more air, it can also slow you down.