On April 15, 2019, La Petite Baleen celebrated 40 years of teaching...Read More
We work hard to make sure that students are breathing properly throughout the program. In Levels 1-3, we build strong foundations of breath control to get them ready for Levels 4 and 5. In these levels, students are learning proper strokes, and with that, proper breathing in the strokes. So what does proper breathing mean for each stroke? Here are some key things we teach and look for in each student’s breathing in the strokes:
Freestyle: We introduce blended breathing before any other element of freestyle. Students learn how to hum and blow bubbles under the water before rolling to the side to breathe and even before adding the arms to make sure that students are comfortable. We teach proper head and body position for the roll, ensuring students are getting a good and comfortable breath.
Backstroke: Breathing through the mouth is key for good backstroke breathing. You may see a teacher use a nose clip to prevent water from getting sniffed through the nose. If water splashes in the face and the student is breathing through their mouths, they can easily spit the water out. Even if the water get in or on their noses, they can easily blow it out. If they breathe through their noses, they may inhale water with their regular breath, which is very painful.
Breaststroke and Butterfly: For these strokes the key is taking a quick breath, and recovering quickly to a chin-tucked position. Breaststroke relies on a long glide that follows the strong kick. If the recovery is too slow, or the head never reaches the proper position, the glide will not be very effective. Butterfly is a fast stroke and does not leave much time for a breath. Breathing and recovery need to be quick and purposeful. The head also needs to recover to a chin-down position in order for the subsequent kick to effectively resume momentum.
We use a variety of tools, tricks, and creative phrases to help our students perfect their breath work in Levels 4-5, leading to confident swimmers, good foundations, and excellent breathing in the strokes.