Ineffective breathing patterns hamper many novice swimmers, says Nuala Muir-Cochrane, head of swimming for David Lloyd Clubs. “The key thing is to breathe out through your nose and mouth while your face is in the water so that you then only need to breathe in when your mouth is clear of the water,” she says. “A lot of people learning the stroke make the mistake of turning their head to the side when they haven’t exhaled while their face is down, which disrupts rhythm and can cause gulping.” Muir-Cochrane suggests practising the breathing pattern of front crawl while standing in a pool. “Put your head in the water for counts of three — most people breathe every three strokes — and turn it slightly to

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