Improving Freestyle Breathing

Perfect your breathing with a better body position
Rod Havriluk, Ph.D., 2009.
An effective freestyle breathing motion requires first establishing an effective nonbreathing head position. An optimal nonbreathing head position minimizes the head rotation necessary to breathe. Feeling the water level just above the hairline is a kinesthetic cue that helps to effectively position the head. However, humans are better at processing visual information. Seeing both the pool wall and bottom within the field of view are visual cues that ensure an optimal head position.
An optimal nonbreathing head position forms a bow wave along the side of the head. Then, only minimal head rotation is necessary to breathe in the trough of the bow wave. The head rotates until one eye (goggle) is above the surface and the top of the water is in the visual field. The head rotation only needs to be enough to bring the mouth above the surface. The eye that is above the surface can sight a point on the wall directly opposite the head. When inhalation is complete, rotation returns the head to the nonbreathing position.

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Cues to Improve Breathing in Freestyle Swimming

Freestyle head position