Proper breathing is a vital component of successful swimming. Breathing while swimming does not just mean you have to inhale and exhale air when your head is above the water; the process is much more complicated than that. Breathing impacts lung function and muscular performance. Therefore, proper breathing is a crucial technique every swimmer needs to learn.

A Singapore swim coach typically starts with lessons on proper breath control. Whatever swimming level you are on, breathing is the engine that drives your physical efforts. As such, it is necessary to work on your breath control if you want to become a skilful swimmer. In this article, we delve deeper into the importance of proper breathing while swimming.


What happens to your bodily functions when underwater

Humans do not have the capability to breathe underwater. Nonetheless, swimmers can learn how to adapt diving reflexes for the purpose of conserving oxygen while swimming and diving. Proper breath control is essential since the respiratory system faces difficulties when the entire body is immersed in water. Different parts of your body, specifically your respiratory system, work differently when underwater.


When swimming, your muscles contract, and your lungs tighten up as you make use of oxygen and accumulate carbon dioxide. This process forces you to fight against temperature, pressure, and water resistance. Water temperature by itself already has an enormous impact on your respiratory system.


Based on research studies, being in hot water particularly results in greater respiration, whereas being in cold water leads to temporary respiration arrest. Both of these scenarios pose different challenges to professional swimmers since the temperature of the water forces their bodies to adapt in order to survive. On the other hand, pressure and water resistance alter the flexibility and muscle movements of swimmers, who need to combat the movements of the water in order to move and breathe properly.


Why you need proper breath control while swimming 

Proper breathing is necessary when swimming to prevent hypoxia. Improper breathing causes hypoxia or poor oxygenation, an imbalance between the supply of oxygen into your body and your tissue’s oxygen requirements. When your circulatory system cannot carry an adequate amount of oxygenated blood to satisfy these requirements, this leads you to feel out of breath. When hypoxia impacts your muscles, it can also cause you to experience inflammatory lesions and cramps.


Aside from minimising or eliminating the risk of hypoxia, proper breath control can also reduce panic and tension, which helps swimmers control the buildup of carbon dioxide in their bodies and execute more fluid movements. Proper breathing also enhances posture, which enables swimmers to minimise muscle contractions and expand their lungs’ capacity. With these advantages on the table, you can become a more flexible, active, and resistant swimmer with good overall performance.



The different benefits of proper breath control and the dangers of incorrect breathing while swimming has been discussed in many research studies for years. All of them have proven that correct breathing techniques can enhance swimming performance and save lives. As such, it is essential for every swimmer, both beginners and professionals, to master proper breathing while in the water. To get started, it is best to undergo training with the guidance of a professional swimming instructor with certification in Singapore.


For the safest and most effective swimming programmes for kids and adults alike, Swimwerks is the aquatic expert you can trust! At Swimwerks, we have well-trained and experienced swimming instructors with the necessary certifications to guide you in your journey towards becoming a skilful swimmer. With our extensive and interactive swimming programmes, you can certainly develop water confidence with relative ease. Join us now to get started!