How to Breathe While Swimming Breaststroke

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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Learning to breathe while swimming breaststroke is a little easier than with freestyle or butterfly. If you have figured out how to properly pull and kick while swimming breaststroke, then you are more than halfway there to figuring out how to breathe. Breaststroke can be a leisurely stroke once you learn to properly breathe, or you can take it to a competitive level.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Start swimming by diving in the water or pushing off the wall and completing one full pull with your hands finishing down by your hips and one breaststroke kick.

  2. 2

    Bring your hands back up to a streamline position during your underwater kick. Your hands should come together at your chest, thumbs touching, before you push them forward into a streamline position.

  3. 3

    Pull your arms back toward your chest, elbows bent out to the sides, and lift your head up and out of the water.

  4. 4

    Take a breath while your face is completely out of the water. Your head should be lifted high enough so that your mouth is out of the water, but not so high as to slow down the motion of the stroke.

  5. 5

    Return your head to the water as your arms extend out into a streamline position again.

  6. 6

    Continue steps 3 through 5, taking a breath every time your head exits the water.

Tips and warnings

  • Breathing every stroke is the traditional way to swim breaststroke; however, you can breathe every other stroke if you choose. Your head still needs to come out of the water, but some competitive swimmers and coaches prefer breathing every other stroke because it eliminates the need to lift your head quite as high with each pull.

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