Dr. Milner Q and A on "3 Ways to Improve Your Breath Control"

A question via Twitter, from @ConcernedMom9:

"Any thoughts on this article: '3 Ways to Improve Your Breath Control?'"

Thank you for your question! Here are some thoughts from Dr. Rhonda Milner.

In response to Nick Folker's article in Swim Swam on ways to improve breath-holding, I am excited to see the swim community recognizing the real risk of Shallow Water Blackout to swimmers, especially competitive swimmers with this waring:

*Note: swimming as a sport is becoming increasingly aware of the risks of shallow water blackout. Never practice any sort of breath-holding sets alone, and be aware of the risks of hyperventilation and breath-holding before undertaking any sets of this nature. While the risks of 25-yard underwater swimming are generally fairly low for competitive swimmers, those risks do still exist, and risks exist with any and all forms of strenuous activity. See more about the risks of “hypoxic training” on page 26 of the USA Swimming Safety/Loss Control Manual.

But, can hypoxic training ever be completely safe except for on dry land? Is safe hypoxic training an oxymoron? However, with safety guidelines it can be as safe as possible, but not 100%. Here are a few quick bullet points to remember that will help prevent SWB. --Never hyperventilate (can still have SWB without intentional hyperventilation) --Never ignore urge to breathe --Never swim alone --Breath-holding is not a game and is dangerous --If you Breath-hold, don't think the lifeguards will save you BC difficult to detect --Lastly, if you breath-hold--the Rule: one lap, one time, one breath, But if you have a genetic trigger you still can drown. **the most dangerous situation is repetitive, competitive, prolonged breath-holding laps with little rest in between **Breath control is needed to learn to swim and swim fast, but must be supervised and the urge to breathe must never be ignored. Please swim safely and have fun!! Thank you, Rhonda Milner, MD Founder and Chairman of Shallow Water Blackout Prevention