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Many swimmers find that running out of breath, or not knowing when to breathe while swimming sometimes becomes a problem. Here are some very simple, easy, and important things to remember about when to breathe, that if you remember them and practice them, you should not have a problem:
• In the butterfly and breaststroke, breathe every time your head is above the water. That is one time every full stroke.
• When your arms are under you in the breaststroke and when your arms are behind you and coming forward in the butterfly, it is natural for your head to come above the water. Do not attempt to keep it in the water. It does not save you time, and will cause your body to be in a position that is not natural, and overtime, may cause injury.
• In the backstroke your head is always above the water. Think about taking one breath every three strokes. Breathe out more slowly than you breathe in.
• For freestyle, learning to breathe on both sides of your body is a must. When one hand is fully extended in front of you and the other hand is pushing past your hip, just lifting out of the water, turn your head (do not lift it), to the side of your body away from the leading arm. In the beginning, breathe every three strokes. The stronger you get, you may want to move to five strokes.
• When you race, in a sprint, breathe as little as possible, and in a long distance race, try to breathe every seven strokes. The more you do it, the less you'll have to think about it and it will become habit.