Can't Breathe with Water in Your Mouth? Think Again

More often than not, one of the most commonly used reasons for why people don’t want to swim in the open water - or swim at all for that matter - is the fear of getting water splashed in your mouth and not being able to breathe. Which, when you write it down, sounds like a pretty legitimate conclusion. If water gets splashed in my mouth, there’s no way I’ll be able to breathe…right? I’m sorry to burst your bubble (HA, swimming humor, sorry, had to do it), but no, not right. Breathing with water in your mouth is shockingly easy to do physically. Mentally is another side of the coin, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Now, how am I sure you can breathe with water in your mouth? And how can you be sure I’m not over here just blowing smoke (or bubbles, if you can stand some more terrible humor)? This simple Breathing with Water in Your Mouth Trick allows you to see how your body will react to having water in your mouth and trying to breathe at the same time.

This trick is only made up of three steps and the word “simple” doesn’t really begin to cover how easy it is. Step 1: get a cup and put a small amount of water in it. Once you have your water, take a SMALL sip - DO NOT take a large gulp of water! I promise you if you take a giant gulp of water and fill your mouth completely, you will not be able to breathe very well.

Step 2: open your mouth and take a slight inhale. This is why you want to make sure you don’t take in a huge gulp of water in Step 1, as when you open your mouth to take your small inhale, you need to make sure there’s room in your mouth for the air to get in and allow you to breathe. I know you won’t have control over this at a public pool or a during a race and get a huge amount of water splashed in your mouth, but practicing this way prepares you to handle that situation if and when it occurs.

Step 3: exhale through your nose. Repeat steps 2-3 a few times and make sure to stay calm while you’re doing so. Taking small inhales and exhales allows you to keep your heartrate down and stay as calm as possible while you practice getting used to this inhibited way of breathing.

That’s it! You did it! This trick is super simple, easy, and quick, and is a great way to help you acclimate to the unexpected.