Swimming training with a snorkel

Use a Snorkel to Improve Your Swim Breathing Technique

The question of the benefits of swimming with a snorkel frequently arises in the Orange County Endurance Discord chat, so we decided to address it here. 

Incorporating a snorkel into your swim training can significantly benefit triathletes by allowing them to focus on refining their skills without the added concern of managing their breathing technique. However, using a snorkel correctly can pose a challenge, particularly for beginners.

What are the benefits of using a swim snorkel? Using a swim snorkel offers several advantages. It can help improve your breathing by allowing you to experience the smoothness of swimming without taking breaths. Additionally, it can alleviate common neck and shoulder issues that may arise during swimming.

Learning to Use a Snorkel Effectively

While initially daunting, mastering a snorkel is similar to riding a bike—once you acquire the skill, it becomes second nature. A swim-specific snorkel, preferably front-mounted, should be used instead of a scuba diving snorkel, as the latter may hinder arm movement at the side of your face.

When using a snorkel, you can focus on maintaining proper head alignment. This promotes straighter swimming and conserves energy by minimizing stroke imperfections caused by excessive head movement. Keeping your head still allows you to observe your hand movements underwater, enabling you to generate more power and speed while reducing the risk of injury.

The potential downside of using a snorkel is becoming reliant on continuous breathing. To address this, incorporate swimming without the snorkel into your training routine. This will help you maintain consistent form and technique, gradually minimizing the contrast between snorkel and non-snorkel swimming.

Overcoming theChallenge of Water Entering the Snorkel

One of the main difficulties encountered when using a swim snorkel is water entering the tube, which can lead to inhaling water. To address this issue, learning how to clear the snorkel of water effectively is crucial.

Rather than simply exhaling, forcefully blow out your air to expel the water from the snorkel. Imagine how whales or dolphins blast water out of their blowholes—it requires a strong exhalation. This vigorous exhalation ensures that all the water is expelled from the snorkel, allowing you to inhale only air during the next breath.

Getting Started with a Swim Snorkel

Begin your practice in shallow water, submerging the snorkel and then clearing it. Practice clearing a full snorkel, a half-full snorkel, and a snorkel with a small amount of water. Each scenario requires a slightly different blowout technique.

Starting in shallow water offers the advantage of standing up and breathing if needed, eliminating the concern of swimming while learning to use the snorkel. Once you feel comfortable, progress to slow swimming.

By following these steps, you will gain proficiency in using the snorkel at any speed.

Key Considerations when Using a Swim Snorkel

When using a swim snorkel, it’s crucial to be aware of certain factors to ensure a smooth and safe experience. One particular concern arises after pushing off the wall in the pool, especially during flip turns, as this moment presents a higher risk of inhaling water. During these instances, not only can your snorkel fill with water, but you’re also holding your breath for an extended period.

Despite the urge to breathe, remaining patient and exerting a strong blow to clear the snorkel effectively is essential. By doing so, you ensure that when you inhale, you receive air instead of water.

Adopt a “worst-case scenario” mindset when using a swim snorkel. Always assume there might be water in the snorkel and exhale forcefully to clear it completely. Additionally, approach each inhalation cautiously, just in case residual water is still in the snorkel. These precautions guarantee you receive the necessary air intake while using the snorkel.

By staying mindful of these considerations and following proper snorkel usage techniques, you can maximize the benefits of incorporating a swim snorkel into your training routine.

If you are interested in getting a snorkel, the Finis is great!

Related Posts