Effects of head position on the duration of breaststroke swimming in preschool swimming beginners

Jernej Kapus, Tadeja Moravec, Mitch Lomax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this study was to determine swimming duration during breaststroke swimming at a fixed distance swim or if the fixed distance could not be completed, time to exhaustion in swimming beginners with three different head positions: (a) with the head held above the water throughout the stroke cycle; (b) breathing normally in line with breaststroke stroke coordination; and (c) with the face submerged, and breathing occurring ad libitum via a snorkel.

Method - Thirteen preschool swimming beginners (5 girls; ages 6 years ± 8 months, height 120 ± 6 cm, body mass 24 ± 5 kg) were asked to swim breaststroke as long as possible in three different conditions. Swimming duration was evaluated by converting swim time to a score on an eleven-point scale.

Results - Swimming duration scores were higher when swimming with the face submerged and breathing through a snorkel compared with either holding the head above the water or with normal breaststroke breathing. However, due to similar stroke lengths swimming efficiency did not differ between the trials with the different head positions.

Conclusion - It could be concluded that head position significantly influenced breaststroke swimming duration in swimming beginners. Children were able to swim for longer and hence had a higher swimming score when the face was submerged and breathing occurred ad libitum through a snorkel compared with holding the head above water or when breathing in time with breaststroke. However, swimming efficiency was unaffected by the three head positions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages10
JournalKinesiologia Slovenica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • learning
  • swimming
  • children
  • body position
  • teaching


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