How To Improve Your Breathing Technique When Swimming

Despite its vitality to survival both in and out of the water, breathing does not always come as second nature to swimmers. Breathing in a sporadic and stressful way can compromise our stroke, resulting in poor technique and slower, more tiring performance. Tri N Swim Well are on hand to coach you through an improved breathing technique, and therefore a better performance of your chosen swim stroke. 



Key Breathing Focuses When Swimming

Breathe Consistently

Among the most critical aspects of swimming, and all life, is to continue breathing. Often swimmers try to breathe in and out whilst above water - this is wrong. You ought to inhale above water and exhale when underwater. Holding breath unnecessarily can cause individuals to tire quickly or even lose consciousness. When exhaling correctly, you will see a constant stream of bubbles, preferably from the nose; focus on them until the next time to inhale. 

Practice Rotating Your Body

Mastering your breathing technique is owed to creating a seamless core controlled movement in your stroke. Improving your rotation will allow your body to surface for air in a way that is most natural, allowing for both breath and an overall improvement of your technique. 

Single-Side or Bilateral Breathing

More prominent when freestyle swimming, choosing between single-side or bilateral breathing will be determined by your comfortability and technique. Single-sided is when you only breathe on one side, whereas bilateral breathing is when you alternate between your left and right sides. For distance swimming, you should breathe every 2 or 3 strokes. 

Breathing Tips for Each Swimming Stroke 


Whilst swimming Backstroke, although your face will not be submerged in the water, it remains important to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. To control your movements and steady your breathing, we advise that you connect your breathing with the direction of your arms. As one arm lifts up and back, inhale. Exhale as you pull it back to your body underwater. 


Whilst performing Breaststroke, there is no turning your head as you swim. In this technique, your head will be held straight; as you propel your body forward, it will lift from the water naturally. Inhale as you keep your nose and mouth clear of the water. As always, when underwater, exhale. 


Despite the complexity of the Butterfly stroke, the breathing technique is similarly straightforward to that of breaststroke. When coordinating your continuous dolphin kick with powerful overarm circles, your movement will propel your face from the water, allowing you to breathe. Inhale out of the water, exhale when underwater. 

To maximise confidence and readiness to get into the water, swimmers should ensure they have the right equipment. Tri N Swim Well stocks an extensive range of swimming gear, including high-quality swimsuits, wetsuits and accessories such as anti-fog goggles, to help prepare individuals for their swim.  

Founders of Tri N Swim Well, Gill and Dawn, are celebrated swimmers and elite-level coaches. Extending their expertise to swimmers of all levels, Tri N Swim Well offers bespoke 1-2-1 coaching sessions; here, swimmers can learn to strengthen their strokes and improve their breathing techniques. To find out more about the swimming services offered by Tri N Swim Well, contact the team today!