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4804 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 1, 2010 2:35 AM by Macro
Macro Rookie 7 posts since
Jan 26, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 26, 2010 5:42 PM

Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

First of all... this is one of the most interesting sites I've come across in regards to triathlon and swimming. Helpful and sensible advice to get in the forums etc.First impression is wow.

Sorry if this is lengthy, but maybe I can inspire someone else to just try..


After a couple of years of cycling, a friends performance in xtreme Ironman inspired me to try tri - and this summer it's going to happen. My first tri - olympic distance.

However, as a kid I had an accident that kept me out of the aquatic environment for almost ten years. As a teen I wanted to to learn windsurfing, so I had to battle my demons.

It was hard, but at least I had fun windsurfing. I never felt comfortable in the water though and windsurfing let me stay out of it.. most of the time


Last fall I decided that if I ever was going to survive an IM, I had to figure out if I could learn to swim with anything else than the duck-alike approach - breast stroke of course - head a mile above water.

I am pretty technically oriented as a person... I always loved physics, aerodynamics and anything related, and I like to think I can learn most things if I set my mind to it.


With a few youtube videos in mind, I hit the pool - determined like never before. After a few sessions I managed to submerge my head in the stroke - and after a few weeks I started to feel comfortable with it.

I've been at it for almost six months now, and the up/down head movement of the breast stroke is no problem at all now.


The problem, that I suspect is caused by my lack of swimming experience from young age, is that as soon as I turn my head sideways in the water - crawlstyle - my locking ability disappears.


I have been experimenting, but with no luck so far - and I would really like to get some advice for some "baby steps".

I know the best thing is to find a masters group, or get coaching - but I'm a pretty busy dad with 3 kids and a time consuming job.I can't make it to the open training sessions of the masters.


So... are there any secret tricks to learn to keep that pesky water out or is it just a matter of hours, days and weeks in the water?



This seasons tri will probably be performed with breast stroke anyway. At the moment I'm trying out this tri breast stroke as shown on the following youtube clip.


With this technique, or my attempts anyway, I can do a comfortable 1.5miles per hour - for an hour. I can go faster, but it feels inefficient.I can go further - but I'm not sure it's the best use of my time limited sessions.

At the moment I'm just swimming half and half intervals and endurance as much as possible to build swimming muscles and aerobic capacity.In a couple of months I'll probably get some coaching from afriend.


My goal is to finish this summers swim in about 35mins. Are there others out there who do breast stroke triathlon swims? If so - whats your best?


If you're still with me - thanks for reading .

  • Seanatron Rookie 5 posts since
    Jan 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 26, 2010 6:21 PM (in response to Macro)
    Re: Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

    water is coming in your nose? You could invest in a nose plug...I've seen a lot of people do that. Also, you should  be breathing out while your face is in the water...inhaling when you turn to the side...I always inhale through my mouth and exhale through my nose.


    does that make sense? Hopefully I provided a little help.

    My Upcoming Races:

    Jan 22 - Matanza's 5k - 21:36

    Jan 30 - Run 5 to keep kids alive (5M) - 37:41

    Feb 20 - Southeast GA health System Bridge Run(5k)

    Mar 13 - Gate River Run(15k)

  • Joe_h1 Community Moderator 1,833 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jan 27, 2010 7:48 AM (in response to Macro)
    Re: Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

    jsut my .02 but try the clips again and breathe w/ your mouth. exhale underwater and inhale as your body rotates and life your neck as little as possible (as a fan of aerodymanics you should check the book/video series total immersion by terry laughlin it's a very good book about the correct swim forma nd reducing drag - you might find some videos on youtube. but his swimming downhill theory is really interesting and seems to work for me)


    breaststroke is ok for tri BUT the starts of tri swims are crowded spaces and the breastroke kick is very wide and will not make you very popular. If you go this route start towards the back and give yoruself plenty of room. good luck and ahve fun

    goals for 2011:

    break 19minutes for 5k

    break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic

    break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)

  • larkspur_runner Amateur 9 posts since
    Nov 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jan 27, 2010 11:00 AM (in response to Macro)
    Re: Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

    You may want to spend some time doing kick drills that allow you to concentrate more on breathing.  Learning to swim is kind of like learning to ski or golf--it involves coordinated movements that are totally foreign to your everyday activities.  Drills help you isolate and work on each of these movements individually.  You can then put them together as you feel more comfortable with each one.


    Try the side kick drill, where you lie on your side while you kick, with your head in the water looking straight down.  Your arm closest to the bottom extended in front of you.  Breath as necessary, and wear fins if you are not strong kicker. actually has a whole article on this type of drill, including a modified version, so do a search in the Swim section of the site.  The drill will allow you concentrate on balance and breathing, which should get you a lot more comfortable in the water.



  • larkspur_runner Amateur 9 posts since
    Nov 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 28, 2010 2:31 PM (in response to Macro)
    Re: Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

    Here is the Active article I was referring to:



    Short and to the point.  Hope it helps!

  • JimFive Expert 39 posts since
    Apr 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 18, 2010 12:53 PM (in response to Macro)
    Re: Swimming; breathing, issues with nasal control/lock

    Breathe out, nose and mouth, the entire time that your nose is below the waterline, as you rotate up to breathe, just as your nose clears the water, blow out a bit and then breathe deep.  I also find that positioning my tongue helps prevent accidental water breathing.

    Good Luck,


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