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Chapter 8--A~One Perf. Breath-Indiv.


The Red Cross Breathing Drill~Individual

While learning rhythmic breathing, the most important point to remember is that the head and arms move at the same rate of speed. If one moves slower or faster than the other you will be unable to take a breath at the proper time and will find it impossible to swim very far. If you have already read The Red Cross Breathing Drill~Instructor,Chapter 7~C, you will have a better undertanding of why a steady movement between head and arms is necessary. With this in mind you will discover that the following drill will be both easy and helpful.


Progressions For the RC Breathing Drill~Individual

After warmup exercises, proceed with the following review:

1~Perform One Perfect Breath (OPB) as practiced in the previous segment, 3 X or until mastered.

2~-Perform OPB and a second perfect breath 3 X or until mastered.

At this point, most beginners are unable to master a third breath with stroke. However, if you are able to breathe in the correct sequence with strokes for three or more consecutive times you may not have any need for the Red Cross Breathing Drill (RCBD). In this case, you should concentrate on building up endurance by swimming widths at the shallow end.

If you are having difficulty with a second or third perfect breath, you are most likely moving out of sequence and need to practice the RCBD below.

Part One of RC Breathing Drill

1~-Face pool wall with hands pressing against side.

2~-Extend arms with elbows straight. Move feet back with knees straight.

3~Bend waist forward until face is down into water.

This is the position for practicing the RCBD.

Refer to Illustrations below:

(The first part of this drill is with the head only.)

1~Choose one side to turn your head for a breath.

2~Assume position shown in above illustration.

3~Hold onto pool side with NON-breathing side hand. Breathing-side arm drops to side.

4~Be sure arm on NON-breathing side is straight--elbow is NOT bent.

5~With face turned to breathing side, lie head on water with ear underwater.

6~Keeping side of head in water but having mouth exposed to air, take a quick hard breath, then exhale. Do not turn face down into water yet. This task is only to get you used to taking a breath while head is partly immersed. Perform at least 3 X.

7~Stand. Again, assume above position. Take a quick hard breath, close mouth, then turn face down into water but do NOT exhale under water. Stand erect. Exhale. Perform at least 3 X.

8~Assume given position. Take quick hard breath, close mouth, turn face into water and forcefully let air out nose and slightly parted lips. CLOSE MOUTH! Stand erect. Do NOT have mouth open after you exhale. Do this at least 3 X or until mastered.

9~In given position, take a hard quick breath, turn face down into water, exhale through nose and slightly parted lips. CLOSE MOUTH. Do not stand. Holding the same body position, turn face to breathing side again and take another breath. Stand. Do this until mastered and without residue water left in mouth after second breath.

NOTE: It's important that you close your mouth an instant before taking the next breath. Only after numerous repetitions will this come naturally (automatic) for you. Taking a breath and the synchronous movements of head and arm stroke are vital to learn the Front Crawl. The inability to accomplish these tasks is the major reason why many are unable to swim the Front Crawl.

10~Assume given position, take quick, hard breath, turn face down and exhale through parted mouth and nose. CLOSE MOUTH, turn head keeping ear in water and take a second hard, quick breath, turn face down, exhale, (ALWAYS CLOSE MOUTH BEFORE TAKING A BREATH,) turn head again to side and inhale. Continue breathing and exhaling at least five consecutive times.

11~Perform # 10 until you are able to take at least eight consecutive breaths and exhalations perfectly without lifting up your head. See illustrations below:

Fig. 1: Exhalation with face down in water.

Fig. 2: Head begins turn to side as exhalation finishes.

Fig. 3: Mouth is fully CLOSED as face turns up for breath.

Fig. 4: Head rests on surface as mouth opens to inhale.

Fig. 5: Head turns again into water and exhaling begins.

Fig. 6: Full exhalation with face straight down in water.



The most common problem for this drill is the wrong timing. Continue practicing until you develop a rhythm and are able to synchronize the breathing with your head (and later the arm.) You should not have to stop and "catch up" with your breathing, nor stopping in order to catch your breath. Breathing should be normal. If you find yourself not getting enough air or unable to exhale enough, you are moving your head too rapidly and need to slow down.


Chapter 8--C Part--2 of RCBD~Individual
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