Breath Control

Breath control is another water competency to learn how to remain calm upon sudden entry in cold water, assist in floating, maintain body temperature, and to control your breathing during propulsion.

Cold Water Shock

When falling into very cold water the natural reflex is to gasp. If this happens when airways are underwater, water may enter the lungs which could result in drowning. Teach students to close their mouth and cover airways as they jump into cold water.


Teaching Tips and Class Management

Breath Control Activities’

  • Question students about a likely reaction when falling into freezing cold water (gasp)
  • Students enter water holding mouth and nose
  • Experiment with different forms of propulsion (survival and non-survival strokes). Which strokes better enable controlled breathing?

Shallow water blackout is a risk when hyperventilating before swimming underwater. It is recommended to teach students to take one deep breath rather than hyperventilating before submersing. No underwater activities should have a competitive focus around length of time underwater.