Barbara walked on to the pool deck looking cute and casual, with a coy smile on her face. She reminded me of a young girl, anxious to try something new. Her goal: Learn how to side-breathe properly. She loves to boogie board and swim, but said that being able to breathe on her side would be “The Ultimate!”

BarbaraBarbara showed me how she swam through the water with her head up. Always with a lovely smile on her face.


I started Barbara’s lesson the way I start almost every single one of my swimmers- blowing bubbles. This is the most important part of swimming! Inhale, exhale. Relax. Breathe in, breathe out. Relax. Barbara practiced blowing out her air and lifting her head straight up to take a breath. Her shallow breathing quickly slowed down as she relaxed and focused on calm, easy, unforced breathing. Next, she practiced turning her head to the side to breathe. I used my favorite metaphor: “Okay, so when you’re swimming, you are a pig on a stick. There is an invisible stick going straight through your body from one end of the pool to the other.” Strange, but a great visual, right?


swim straight on stick

Barbara got that down pretty quickly and it was smooth sailing from there. After that, she moved from the wall to the kick board, side breathing all the while. Then we pulled out the big guns- the fins! Like so many of my participants, Barbara absolutely loved the fins. She loved the way they brought her hips up to the surface, stretched out her body and gave her momentum in the water.

By the end of the one hour lesson, Barbara achieved “The Ultimate,” and so much more. She was not only side breathing with ease, but was rolling over from front to back as well. I couldn’t get over how comfortable she was in the water.

Way to go, Barbara! You look like you’ve been doing this your whole life! Check yourself out…