Wednesday, 11 March 2015

How do you swim and breathe at the same time?

I am now swimming twice a week on a fairly regular basis and I’m feeling fitter for it. I’d like to go three times a week but there just aren’t enough hours in a seven day chunk, so twice a week will have to do for now. All I have to sort out is my breathing.

I’m one of those swimmers who do breaststroke with my head up, like a swan, only nowhere near as elegant. I watched how the other swimmers were doing it. (You have to be careful staring at other people in a swimming pool. You run the risk of misunderstandings.) What I needed, I decided, was to buy some goggles. This I did and on my next visit I enthusiastically pulled them on and launched myself into the water but that was when I realized that I didn’t know how to breathe. I tried not to attract attention as I spluttered and gasped and I resolved to find myself a swimming tutor.

This is turning out to be harder than expected. There are adult beginners lessons but I’m not really a beginner. Although I can only manage one length of front crawl (probably because I don’t breathe properly!), I can swim breaststroke for many lengths, so I’m now trying to get some one-to-one lessons. To date I’ve had no luck.


There must be someone out there who can teach me how to swim and breathe at the same time!

p.s. In response to Jo's comment below, I realise that I forgot to mention the neck ache. That's my reason for wanting to learn how to swim properly.


26 comments:

  1. Don't think so. I have the same swimming style..and I can't breathe. Also, having to take my glasses off, I can't SEE either!! and, not that I go any more because chlorine does terrible things to hennaed hair, when I did go, lots of regular swimmers used to push me out of the way coz they were doing LANES which were fare more important that me pootling up and down in a myopic gasping sort of way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a pair we are! I'm curious to know what chlorine does to henna.

      Delete
  2. I actually finished the beginners race once, in the pool in Spence Street if I remember correctly ( when I was a teenager -obviously I have no pride ) but I didn't realise that while everyone else swam a length, I'd managed to turn sideways and do a width ....still as far as I was concerned I got from one side to the other alive and that was a miracle - so don't bother discussing swimming prowess with me :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh! Spence Street Swimming Baths. That brings back memories. My Grandma and Great Aunts used to go to the slipper baths there - for younger readers those were for people who had no bath at home!

      Delete
  3. I'd say breathing is the hardest part, but the whole thing is hard. It's great exercise, but I get exhausted quickly when I go swimming.

    Good to see you again, Rosalind. Glad you're hitting the pools several times a week. Good for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn, hope you're keeping well. I found it exhausting for a start but it's amazing how quickly you build up stamina.

      Delete
  4. I swim the same way! One of my best friends mother was a swimming instructor, and I wonder why she never gave me some guidance? I just swim breaststroke and be done with it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Get used to having your face under water for starters. So plenty of deep breaths and then go under to get the feel of it. Next - while standing up - breathe, go down and breath out, noticing the bubbles, then up again to breathe in, down to breath out - and get into the swing of that.

    Then - with breath stroke - breath in when your arms are swinging to the sides (which will bring your head up anyway), And as you push your arms forward together our your face in the water to breath out.

    It really is a question of rhythm. You can practise on dry land - waving your arms about in the kitchen - to get the pattern of it.

    Having said all that - nobody will mark you out of ten if you decide to keep your head up anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jo, for this comprehensive guide. I'll give it a try next time. I forgot to mention (and have added it above) that my reason for wanting to swim properly is to avoid getting neck ache!

      Delete
  6. Swimming is one thing I have always wanted to do well, singing and cooking are another! Well done for just getting in the pool, I haven't been swimming in years and we have a lovely outdoor pool in our village. Keep up the good work. PS I've just sent a copy of your book to Alice's old primary school, I'll let you know what they say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I could face an outdoor pool *shivers*

      I do hope Alice's old school enjoy the book. It's buzzing in Leicester with Richard III at the moment.

      Delete
  7. come to Texas in the summer and I'll give you good lessons. I learned when I was six, but it's never too late. Good for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds lovely but a bit far to go for swimming lessons!

      Delete
  8. I can just about cope with a back scull these days but I have to admit I'm a 'neck back' swimmer too. I think you're supposed to turn your head to the side so your face is out of the water but I can't do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can back skull but I seem to travel diagonally which is just a bit antisocial in a public baths!

      Delete
  9. Hi Ros .. please can I come up and see you practising ... I'll try not to spill my cup of coffee!! I was thinking of swimming - but it's something ahead of me now .. once the hip has settled, which I've made a booboo with .. hope it reverts to its perfect state again soon ... glad you're fitting in two sessions - and yes do breathe - otherwise we won't have you posting and I do want to read about Richard III!! Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Hilary, what have you done to your hip? I shall pop over to your lovely blog and check it out!! Don't worry. I'll be posting lots of Richard III stuff over the next two weeks. It's all taking off in Leicester!

      Delete
  10. The thought that first comes to mind is:" however did we find time to work?" It is a shame that you cannot fit in another swimming session. As an OLD national swimming coach, I endorse what JO has said about breathing. Pleased that you are finding the swimming beneficial to your fitness. I am reminded of when I learnt to swim at 9 years old-on a 6 week cruise to Australia with the on board coach !!!!!! Petra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Petra. As soon as all the Richard III excitement is over I plan to pull in another session each week. I feel so much better for it.

      Delete
  11. Not so long ago, I recall you being not very keen at going to the swimming pool so its great to see how far you've come along. I don't know where you go to swim, but possibly the leisure centre would be able to point you in the right direction for one to one lessons, where they will teach you the technique of how to breathe.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You'll get there in the end. I didn't swim without my glasses on until I was 60.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have the same problem as I hate having my head under water. I also hate cold water, so for both reasons I haven't been swimming in years, but I do love it as a form of exercise. Good for you! I hope you manage to get some help as you will probably get on faster as well if you can get used to putting your head down.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good for you! Swimming is such good exercise. I'm not a very strong swimmer, and I never quite got the hang of how to breathe properly, so the backstroke used to work best for me. And I didn't smash my head on the side of the pool all that often... HA

    Good luck.It sounds like Jo gave you a good description of how to do it properly.

    ReplyDelete