360 Front Crawl

Benefits of Breathing on Your Back

Before children learn front crawl breathing, it’s a good idea to get them rolling all the way on to the back. It’s even more important for adult learners to do this. Front crawl breathing is all about rotation, as is the front crawl stroke, with every stroke being potentially a breathing stroke.

The worst kind of front crawl is one which lacks balance, with a rushed inhalation taken through a gasping mouth on top of a lifted head and twisted neck.

The easiest way to breathe after doing some front crawl strokes is to roll all the way onto your back. You’re finding a resting breathing position where you can relax your neck, widen your back and take as long as you like to get air in.

Evolving out of that is a balanced position you can maintain on your side, which is easier to return to the water from. In time this rotation on to the side becomes quicker so the breathing is an integrated part of the stroke.

But even for people who can roll to breathe in crawl with good balance and a reasonably free neck, it’s good to play with going all the way on to the back, or to hold the breathing position on the side if you can find balance on the side.  

Resting in the breathing position gives the middle ear time to recover from the rotation, to register the new place you’ve arrived at. If you stop on your back to breathe and then continue a 360 degree rotation to get going again, this might be the perfect exercise to encourage rotation of your body without causing stress to the vestibular system.

If you get car-sick, suffer from headaches or have poor balance, 360 degree front crawl is a great thing to try.

If front crawl makes you dizzy, or gives you a headache, consider going all the way on to your back. You may feel happier either rolling all the way over or going back the way you came, as in the full stroke. You may like to rotate only one way. You don’t have to breathe bilaterally. You may prefer to stay on your side rather than going all the way on to your back

But remember you have the choice to go all the way and that this might be the healthiest thing to do.

So even if you’re an accomplished front crawl swimmer, it’s a good idea to go right back to basics. At the heart of the front crawl stroke is rotation and the ultimate rotation is the 360.

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