Tag Archives: head position when swimming

Head Position When Swimming

have to crane your head up high to reach air? This year we’ve received more questions about this problem than perhaps any other. It can even be a problem for advanced level swimmers when they become tired. Here’s our advice: 

When your head travels through the water it creates a bow-wave around it, with a slight increase in the water height in front of your head but a large drop in height as it passes your head and neck:

When we breathe in freestyle we need to keep our head as low as possible because lifting your head causes your legs to sink. Great breathing technique involves breathing into the trough by the side of your head to keep it as low as possible:

Take a close look at the shape of the bow wave and how it’s dropping quite steeply as it passes your head:

The correct place to aim your mouth is into position A but swimmers who struggle with their breathing are often trying to breathe slightly forwards into position B. The bow wave isn’t very deep or well formed there and it will be a real struggle to reliably take on air:

To get the position of your breathing right it may feel like you’re breathing very slightly behind you – you should just be able to see your arm-pit as you do this. This will only feel like a slight adjustment – you don’t want to breathe too far backwards (position C) as this will twist your body and drag your lead arm across the centre line:

The next time you swim, experiment a little with your breathing position and try and find that sweet-spot where you can reliably find the bow wave trough but not breathe too far behind you and lose your alignment in the water.
Two other quick tips: Aim to keep your lower goggle underwater when you breathe and experiment with angling your mouth towards the surface like Popeye chews his spinach:

Photo taken from swim smooth Box DVD Set
Do you struggle with your breathing when swimming? Have you tried this tip? Let us know how it works for you on the comments section:

Swim Smooth!

For more awesome swim advice check out the the Swim Smooth Box DVD Set