Part III: Can you BREATHE like Nathan Adrian?

Part III: Can you BREATHE like Nathan Adrian?

Welcome back to Part III of our series on Freestyle Breathing. In this part of our series, Coach Abbie decided to analyze one of the world’s FASTEST swimmers, Nathan Adrian, and help teach you the BIG difference between Nathan’s breath and the rest of the world’s!

In case you missed Part II of this series, click here. Otherwise, let’s get started…

Traditionally, coaches have always taught swimmers to breathe in conjunction with their arm cycles. This is what we discussed in depth in Part I’s and II of this series. What is really interesting though now is some swimmers (lots of the male sprinters) are breathing FASTER than that.

In our analysis below, see how Nathan actually completes his breath PRIOR to that same arm finishing the pull/the opposite entering.

Why is this breathing cycle better?

1.) It lowers his drag coefficients.

By getting his head down faster, Nathan actually lowers his drag coefficients and gets into a more streamlined position for the pull. Not only does this help keep his speed high, but he’s also getting ample oxygen by breathing every stroke without a large speed reduction, like we would normally see with a swimmer breathing regularly.


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2.) His pull is stronger.

By getting his head down at the time that same arm is in its’ catch position, he is actually making his pull stronger. Just like anyone if we were to bench press with our head facing to one side (the side we are facing away from would be weaker).

With both his eye balls facing the bottom, Nathan’s pulling arm is about to start it’s propulsive phase and he’s amplified his body’s ability to be stronger in that position due to his head position and muscle activation at that moment.

Where is the propulsive phase in Freestyle? Watch below:

3.) He’s getting a more consistent breath.

If you rewatch that video, you’ll see Nathan actually breathes every stroke. Even though you could argue since the breath is FASTER, he is getting less air–that is true. But the reality is (over-time), he is actually getting the same amount of air as a regular swimmer swimming at a slower speed and using a breathing pattern.

Since a regular swimmer normally slows down a lot when breathing and doesn’t breath on a consistent basis, they get a larger quantity of air, but not as consistently. Nathan basically is on the other side of the spectrum, by getting less air, but more consistently over time.

So I guess it’s best to end this post with a question and say, ” Now, can you BREATHE like Nathan Adrian?”

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish

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