Chapter 8-B; RCBD~Indiv.
The Home Pool


Part Two of Red Cross Breathing Drill~Individual

Part Two of both individual and Instructor RCBD focuses on the arm stroke. You will learn to synchronize the breathing and head movement with the stroke. All three: head, breathing and arm, move at the SAME RATE. If one of them moves faster or slower than the other two you will be unable to swim continuously for more than a few strokes.

In learning any sport there are numerous positions to remember before it may be accomplished correctly and with ease. If the dynamics seem complicated DO NOT GIVE UP but keep practicing many times over until the moves become automatic.

Not even fast lap swimmers were able to swim perfectly the first time they tried. Smooth, continuous swim motions are acquired only through practice.

Review Part One For Warmup:

1--Stand at side of pool in position for the RC Breathing Drill as shown below:

2--Drop the breathing-side arm down and turn head toward breathing side. Do not use an armstroke with this set.
3--Take a deep, quick breath and then turn head face down into water.
4--Exhale and continue exhaling as head turns smoothly back to breathing side.
5--CLOSE MOUTH an instant before taking another breath.
6--Take breath and proceed from # 1 through # 6 continuously at least five times or until an easy rolling motion is maintained, inhaling and exhaling air. Study the illustration below for proper alignments:

Synchronizing Breathing With the Arm Stroke

1--Holding on with one hand as shown below, bend forward and turn face to breathing-side. Lower half of face is under water. Be sure that ear is down into water. Head must not be lifted up at any time. (Arm on NON-breathing side is shown bent but locking out elbow will improve alignment.)

NOTE: To demonstrate proper alignment of head and ear, breathing-side arm is shown straight back, flat on water surface. Arm is NEVER in this position during a normal stroke.

2--CLOSE MOUTH, then turn head to take a breath when mouth is FULLY exposed to air. Breathing-side arm is always in the Lift position when breath is taken. Hold lift position to count of three.

3--Stand, then perform # 1 through # 3 again. Move head and arm very slowly. This should take six to ten full seconds--slower than an actual swim stroke. Perform at least 3 X

4--This time, instead of standing up after the Lift, continue bringing the breathing side arm up and over into the Arch as head turns downward and you begin to exhale.

5--When head is face down into water the breathing side arm is at the Dip and you complete the exhalation.

6--As you again turn your head slowly to side, the breathing-side arm begins the Pull. Think of your hand actually pulling your head to its side by an attached string. Move your head and arm at the SAME RATE. Practice two complete arm strokes with breathing and exhaling at least 5 X.

The correct positions of the breathing-side arm in reference to the head are shown in the illustrations below:

Figure 1 shows beginning position for RCBD.

Figure 2 shows arm beginning the stroke.

Figure 3 shows end of the Pull as head turns. Note, mouth MUST BE CLOSED an instant before taking breath.

Figure 4 shows head turning and mouth exposed to air. Breath is taken at the Lift.

Figure 5 shows the Arch as head turns downward to begin exhalation.

Figure 6 shows the hand begining the Dip--again with face straight down to exhale.

Figure 7: Arm continues along side of body with the Pull. Head begins turn to side again.

Figure 8: Arm moves to the Lift. Head turns, MOUTH CLOSES an instant, then opens for breath at the Lift.



There are two major problems: 1-Lifting up the head; and 2-turning the head too fast or too slow for the armstroke.

If the NON-breathing-side EAR is not in the water as your head turns, especially while taking a breath, then your head is lifted. It's best to have someone watch for this error because you may not detect it if your head is only slightly lifted and your ear is still partially in water. Throughout the stroke your head must NEVER LIFT UP. Be sure the head-turn is always a ROLLING motion to the side.

If the head lifts up at all, you are more likely to get water up your nose when taking a breath! KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AT ALL TIMES!

Aside from this, a lifted head will slow you down because your legs will slowly sink, and thereby moving your body out of proper alignment. A lifted head causes water resistance which will also slow you down.

REMEDY: Return to the Part One Review on this page and practice keeping head down by rolling it from side to side in the water a few times. Do not take a breath until you are able to keep your head down continuously.
When you do take a breath, rest your head on the non-breathing-side ear a few seconds before turning it down again to exhale. See how many consecutive times you can do this without lifting up your head.

2--If your head and arm stroke are not moving at the same rate it will be impossible to get a breath at the correct time and place during the stroke. For example, if the first breath is taken slightly before your arm is at the Lift, you may need to take the second breath when the arm is at the Dip and you will "breathe" biceps instead of air. Obviously, you won't get enough air.

REMEDY: Practice One Perfect Breath again until able to take at least three perfect breaths in a row. Then return to the RC Breathing Drill and practice it slowly while keeping One Perfect Breath in mind. Go back and forth between the two until the rate between arm stroke and head movement is the same.


Chapter Nine~Controlling Panicand Water Relaxation Methods
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