Butterfly Breathing

On a regular basis I see swimmers of all abilities making two common mistakes when it comes to breathing in butterfly:

  • First, don’t breath everystroke. The amount of effort it takes to lift you head out of the water is significant and exhausting.  I realize swimmers like Michael Phelps sometine breaths everystroke.  I will repeat what I have told hundreds of swimmers, when you are as strong as Michael you can probably get away with it, but until then breath every other stroke.  Don’t hold your breath either. While your head is down you should be exhaling the entire time.  A long moderate and relaxed exhale over a two stroke cycle is very effective.
  • Second, breath low. Keep your chin close to the water, and look more down than forward when breathing.  Every inch extra you lift your head up saps you of energy.  Stay low and drive your body forward to breath, not up.

Making these two changes will make swimming butterfly easier, but ony after you have gotten use to the change.  At first almost any change in butterfly feels hard.  The stroke is a touch group of skills which need to be timed together flawlessly to work well.  Any change in the system will feel more tiring at first simply because it is different.  Stick with it and they weill get easier, and your fly will get more relaxed and faster.

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