Swimming with Nose Restrictions – Part 2


An excellent stroke to use if you suffer from blocked nasal passages is the breaststroke. While swimming the breaststroke, you will be able to take a breath every stroke through your mouth. This is the key for people who are having nose/breathing restrictions.  This way of breathing while swimming is different than ‘swim breathing’.  Swim breathing is when you exhale from your nose and take a breath in through your mouth.  (Quoted from the movie, The Sopranos, “Fagettaboutit.”)  The reality is, you are a mouth breather-and I am realist. If you try to swim breath, you won’t be swimming for long since water will be going up your nose.  You need solutions, not more problems. Please watch the attached the video about breaststroke.

Another stroke you can use if you have blocked nasal passages is the sidestroke.  For the sidestroke, your nose and mouth do not have to be in the water. You will be lying on your side. However, if you are not familiar with the coordination of this stroke, please watch the attached video on side stroke. The key to doing the sidestroke properly is to have the ear on the water side in the water AT ALL TIMES. You cannot be lifting your head or ear out of the water. Not even a little. This takes practice. When you lift your head up out of the water this causes the lower half of your body to sink. The sidestroke can be a very restful stroke.

The backstroke would be another stroke suggestion. However, even though your head is out of the water at all times while doing this stroke, there are still challenges. When you lift your arm out of the water to take a stroke, water dribbles down your entire arm and onto your face. Most likely it will go up your nose. If you are not aware of this factoid, I am here to tell you that you will not be a happy camper when this happens. I tell all my swim students, “When you are pulling your arm out of the water and over your head, you must exhale from your nose to keep the water o-u-t (just like in swim breathing….yes). If you inhale, the water will go up your nose. Guess what? You will start coughing or you will stand up as you are gagging.” This is where I come in. If you are in shallow water (hopefully your teacher, like me, is instructing you there) you will be ok. But   what if you are not? Fill in the blanks……uh,oh….Watch the attached video on backstroke, please.

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful and useful. I wish you much success in your swimming! And don’t forget to practice, practice, practice.

Guest post by Barbie Nelis


About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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