I am a beginner. I tried to swim today with a blocked nose. I do not have any fever or cold otherwise; I am perfectly healthy apart from the blocked nose.

Will this have any effect on my swimming? During a couple of times, I quit my swimming stroke in the middle of the pool due to breathlessness. I am unsure if this is psychological or physical.

Does this also depend on the stroke? I was doing breaststroke.

  • 1
    Regardless of swimming, make sure you don't go down even a couple of feet in the water with blockage like that. Your ears and sinuses won't be able to adjust to the pressure with their air pathways blocked up. Anecdotally, I've enjoyed going surfing when recovering from a cold because it tended to liquefy the goo in my nose and allow me to breathe better, at least temporarily.
    – Eric
    Jul 14, 2015 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


Yes... oxygen that comes through your nose does not affect your swimming directly however breathing through your nose before race, oxygenates your body better which leads to an increased focus,endurance and mindfulness.Most people are not aware of this difference but I would suggest to try it breathing for a week through your mouth to see it yourself!

  • 1
    To which question does your "Yes" respond? Feb 15, 2018 at 17:44
  • there's only one question here
    – user27852
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:29
  • Hi! At the moment, the title of this post itself is a question, and there are two questions in the body of the post. Does your "yes" respond to the question that is the title? Feb 16, 2018 at 14:00
  • 1
    Do you have evidence to support that breathing through your nose oxygenates better than mouth breathing? Oxygen exchange occurs in the lungs, and would be unaffected by source.
    – JohnP
    Feb 16, 2018 at 20:36

No. You actually should breathe through mouth while swimming. When your left shoulder is on top, move your head to right while breating.

  • 2
    -1. You breathe through both the mouth and nose when swimming, and you always will turn your head towards the shoulder that is up, not away.
    – JohnP
    Jul 15, 2015 at 3:50
  • 2
    Also, no rotation of the head when doing a breast stroke
    – FredrikD
    Jul 15, 2015 at 7:59

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