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The 4 B’s In Swimming: Breath Control, Buoyancy, Balance, And Body Position

Swim SBalderston COMMENTS 27 Aug, 2021

These are four foundational principles that help swimmers develop a successful range of swimming strokes. These skills may be taught as early as 3 months. Our parent and me swimming lessons introduce younger childer to these fundamental skills, allowing parents to have a fuller understanding of swimming mechanics.

#1 – Breath Control

Developing breath control is one of the first steps in learning how to swim. Learning how to hold your breath with your face in the water is a skill that even babies can quickly learn and actually lose without practice. Students will then learn to blow bubbles, which introduces the skill of inhaling a full breath of air and followed by exhaling underwater while swimming, diving, and exploring the water. Breath control during swimming means inhaling when the face is either raised or titled, just breaking the surface, and holding your breath or blowing bubbles while your face is submerged in the water. Rhythm while doing this is key

#2 – Buoyancy

Buoyancy is the force that enables a swimmer to float in the water, even when not moving. The head’s position is everything when floating and swimming. Our bodies have natural centers of gravity, our bodies also have natural centers of buoyancy. Try relaxing in the water, and find that spot where your body wants to shift to allow for floating. Your lungs are two huge reservoirs of air, which will help you float. Try taking a big breath in to help you get into that float position. Then try relaxing into the float, find a moment of relaxation and slowly exhale. See what your body does in the water.

#3 – Balance

Balance is an essential foundation for efficient swimming. This skill means being in total control of the head, torso, and limbs, and really thinking about where these body parts are in relation to each other. Balance is why swimming is such a fantastic total body workout; every part must work in unison with one another in order to be efficient and effective. Proper balance is needed in order to develop our last and final “B”, body position. 

#4 – Body Position

Body position is generally the last “B” that swimmers develop as they improve their swimming skills. This is a skill that even the most advanced swimmers work on on a daily basis in order to be in the most streamlined and efficient position in the water to reduce drag and increase efficiency. Body position while swimming means maintaining length by keeping the body and limbs long.  Both freestyle and backstroke use a roll of the body to allow for the swimmer to be on a knife-edge slicing through the water, rather than plowing. Core strength is crucial as a weak core will allow for your hips to drop during backstroke, and your back to sway during freestyle. 


While it may seem daunting, keep these four fundamentals in mind when swimming. Break your stroke down and get back to these basics. Use drills, practice, and be mindful of your stroke mechanics. If you are new to swimming, know that building these fundamentals early on will mean stronger and more efficient strokes later on.




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