Smart Breathing: Breathing Breaks
You’ve heard of taking walk breaks during long runs. How about taking breathing breaks during your open-water swims? You are used to pausing every 25 yards when you swim in the pool. It’s OK to pause in open water too.
Use planned breathing breaks as a race strategy. Take them early and often as a countermeasure to keep your heart rate down and diffuse anxiety, especially in the first five to 10 minutes of the swim. Just make sure you swim off to the side so you don’t obstruct others.
You can pause for a moment and sight, or you can pause long enough to get into belly breathing mode. Do what is necessary to stay in your circle. Don’t roll onto your back unless you take comfort in doing so. In time you will be able to shorten the pauses, then to eliminate them altogether.