How to Breath when swimming Front crawl

When I was first learning how to swim the front crawl I was constantly struggling for air. Learning the front crawl and getting the breathing right is like driving a car or riding a bike once you get it you won’t have to think about it after that, at the start it can be frustrating as you have so much to think about, some times when I was learning I would turn my head to the side for air, but because I was thinking about which way my arms should go and were my legs kicking I would actually forget to take a breath. But it is all about practice you will not get it on your first go, but if you persist you could have it in 3 weeks or less.


At the start I could barely do half a length and after 3 weeks I had managed 2 lengths and I was so out of breath after those 2 lengths, and I am a good middle distance runner. But on the 3rd week I just clicked it and I was able to do 20 lengths in a row with out stopping and I was less out of breath than when I could only do the 2 length, so as I said before it is all about being persistent and when it comes you will be amazed at how easy it was. But it just takes some time to get to that point were you don’t have to think about what you are doing and it all comes natural.

Ok so first of when you have your head in the water do not hold your breath, think about it your are bringing your head out of the water to breath and then you hold that breath under the water, that does not make sense or actually work you will be gasping for air every time your pop your head out of the water.

So when your head is out of the water take a good breath, but don’t stay up for to long, what I would do at the start that helped me was to suck the air in when I had my head out of the water. Then when you put your head back into the water blow out gently, exhale all the air out but do it slowly and try to keep relaxed, try to blow bubbles. Another good way to learn to exhale properly is to make a noise under the water as you are exhaling and as long as you hear the noise you will know you are doing it correctly. The important thing to try to do with exhaling is to try and stay relaxed and keep your body relaxed, it is easier said than done I know, but the more you relax the quicker it will come. Also when you are doing this go as slow as possible as trying to swim fast will only make it harder to learn.

Where should my head be?

You should always turn your head slightly to the side when breathing, so that your mouth is just about out of the water, initially when you are learning to swim front crawl you will take in water do not worry about this as it will improve over time, taking in water does not mean you have to stop, as you put your head back into the water just blow the water out again. As you head is turned make sure your arm is fully extended, if you arm is not fully extended this may cause your head to sink a bit meaning you will not be able to catch any air. When your head is turned make sure you open your mouth wide to take in air, and if you are struggling for air, try to suck the air in fast. 


This is the important thing when breathing, but it will come with time spent in the pool, but the main point to remember is try to make sure that your head is turned just as your arm is coming up from the water. This will take time to learn

Front Crawl breathing

Comments 3 comments

Rich 5 years ago

Thanks for the post, I can very much relate with the start of this. Hopefully if I keep at it I will get it. I'm waiting for that moment when it just clicks...

aquasphe 4 years ago Author

It is hard to learn especially if you are no longer a kid. But you need to be stubborn as a lot of the time you will just want to give up, but if you persist it will click.

Fishman 2 years ago

Hello, I am 34 and started to learn swimming as an adult 8 months back. I am still struggling to stay relaxed and keep my body position horizontal to water surface. however i am motivated to learn and i can feel the sudden easiness when i master something. I still practice on shallow end mainly....can go 12/13 m with bilateral breathing. still need to go a long way. but i am enjoying this. loved your post.

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