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  • Writer's pictureCompetitive Swimwear

What To Do If I Take A Big Mouthful Of Water?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Everyone says, "Don't swallow." Easier said, then done. Having raced for over 20+ years, the one stroke that I swallow the most water is the butterfly. You can do some tips to reduce and/or cope with that dreaded mouthful of water.


  • When you breathe, place your tongue on the top of your mouth. Your tongue gives you a barrier to hopefully stop the water from just gushing down your throat so you can spit it out.

  • During butterfly, if you think you'll be at high risk for swallowing water, breathe to the side. Typically I would breathe to the side off the start, and off the turns, then I would return to breathing normally.

  • Don't exhale all your air. I try to exhale only 50% of my air in my lungs, so if I can't stop the water from sliding down my throat, I can maintain my speed without that breath. (pro tip: my next breath would be to the side to guarantee fresh air)

  • Use the air you have left to either cough or blow air out your nose to dislodge any water that might have gone down your airway.

Pro tip:

  • Don't be scared to be in a situation to practice this. My coach used to have me swim butterfly with people splashing me. The key is not to panic.

Good luck out there, and keep swimming fast!

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