Breathing and Swallowing Air
In my annual stroke evaluation and reconstruction exercise, I have been working on a couple issues. First was my overall stroke which I've modified a bit. I'm going with higher elbows on the recovery and improving my hand placement in the water. The second thing that I've noticed is the topic of this discussion.
One thing that was puzzling me with my longer swims is that I would get gassy. I solved this by turning my swimsuit into a ballon periodically. But I realized that something was wrong because this shouldn't be happening. I discovered on this site that there were two possibilities, feed and/or swallowing air. I eliminated feed as a problem by swimming without any feeds and discovering that I was still getting gassy, so it was obvious to me that I must be swallowing air.
I started really paying attention to my breathing. I breathe bilaterally and one side is better than the other, so I started to suspect my weak side, but I couldn't figure out what the heck I was doing. Yesterday, I think I had a breakthrough which I'd like to share. I was doing an easy pull-bouy swim and paying attention to my breathing. I noticed that I was doing a little mouth close and tongue movement just before I breathed. It was a miniature swallow. So then I tried to stop doing that.
I was swimming length after length with no success. And then it hit me. I swim with my mouth agape like a baleen whale. Yes, I'm Micheal Jordan without the vertical leap. A producer I used to work with pointed this out to me years ago. When I start to get focused and concentrate, my jaw drops and I'm slack jawed and in another world. Well this is exactly what happens when I swim. So I tried keeping my mouth shut, blowing bubbles out my nose and only opening when I was inhaling. Well, gosh if that didn't seem to do the trick. I wasn't doing the little mini-swallow. I discovered this pretty late in the workout, so it's hard to know if I've solved the problem, but I didn't seem to have any gas or bloat. So I'm encouraged.
So now I embark on a difficult path for me. I have to learn to keep my stupid mouth shut... :))