It’s All In The Hips

My goal for today’s class was to learn to freestyle breathe better.

For my part, I brought with me some tips I learned from YouTube. I’ve been holding my breath underwater, exhaling only just before turning for air. This has resulted in a fairly shallow breath, and I’ve found myself tiring a lot more than I expected to.

I’ve been doing this out of fear of emptying my lungs. What if I turn for air and fail?

Now that my attempts to breathe are succeeding more and more often, I decided it was time to ditch the fear and more fully exhale. Bubbles out my nose the entire time I’m underwater.

This worked great. I felt way less tired after a lap than I did previously.

I also brought with me a question for my instructor. I’ve been breathing fine on my right side, but on my left side I’m lifting my head. He brought back a hip turning kickboard-between-the-legs exercise that went terribly until I realized he wanted me to turn my hips because it’s my hips that drive my arms and body. The reach and rotate, it originates from the hips.

Kind of like shooting a hockey puck.
Or swinging a baseball bat.
Or a tennis racquet.


My left and right breathing evened out quite a bit after I figured this out.

As with any new detail, remembering to drive with my hips messed up my hands and feet and efficiency, but a after a bunch more laps I started to dial things back in. I feel way better about not failing to get air now.

Speaking of air, I found that a constant exhalation kicked me into a faster rhythm than I wanted. I like to breathe every three leisurely strokes, so I’m now experimenting with holding my breath for one or two strokes, then fully exhaling so I can take a full breath by the time I turn. This may or may not be the right approach, but I’ll feel a lot better about whatever I settle on if I’ve tried different variations.

Thursday will be my last swim class. I was thinking about what I would miss most: the facility, the instructor, my classmates? I realized on my way out that it’s the cleaning lady in the locker room. I’ve never seen her with a moment to spare, but despite working nonstop she always takes the time to greet people with a smile. I respect and appreciate that a lot. She definitely makes positive impact on my visits with her great attitude.


  1. New sport! Freestyle breathing! Judging and points based on rhythm, deepness/shallowness, breath holding duration, lack of hyperventilation…

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