December 01, 2005
One of the major differences between swimming and land-based sports is that breathing in the water is a skill, and a fairly advanced one at that. In recent weeks, since opening a new Swim Studio in New Paltz, NY, I’ve spent many hours teaching in an Endless Pool, where proximity to my students has allowed me to observe the extent to which breathing comfort is essential to their progress and success. This has convinced me that, until breathing becomes routine, effective focus on other aspects of the stroke is impossible. But once students master breathing, other skills follow much more rapidly.
Breathing is such a natural activity that we seldom give it a thought. The only time we even become conscious of it is when we’re breathless from exertion or, well, panic. Or, in the case of swimming, sometimes both at once.