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Center Mount Snorkel Explained

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Swimmers that haven’t trained with a center mount snorkel are usually curious and cautious about adding them to their swim workouts.

Read on to learn:

  • How this handy swim training tool can improve your swim stroke technique and fitness.
  • How to get started with swim snorkel training and avoid discomfort.

Swim Snorkel Benefits

Improving Stroke Technique

  • Freestyle: Snorkels are primarily used for freestyle training to correct head position and improve hand awareness during  stroke entry and catch phases.
  • BreaststrokeFor breaststroke, using a swim snorkel to eliminate breathing accelerates recovery, working a higher tempo breast and allowing swimmers to concentrate on shooting arms forward during recovery.

Kick Training

You can also use snorkels during kick training with or without a board. Some swimmers use a snorkel with a board to relieve pressure on their neck and back, while enjoying the aerobic training of restricted air flow.

Building Aerobic Capacity

Snorkels restrict your airflow. Some even have valves to restrict it further, but most coaches just use duct tape. Training with a snorkel can build lung strength and increase aerobic capacity.

By increasing your aerobic capacity and lung strength, you can increase the efficiency of your body’s oxygen use and reduce the energy cost of breathing to focus your athletic power on a faster and more powerful stroke.

Getting Started With Swim Snorkels

Getting use to a swim snorkel takes practice and patience. Keep the following in mind to make getting started simple and enjoyable.

Snorkel Fitting:

  • Headstrap: Adjust to a tightness just slightly more than that of your goggles.
  • Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece should sit comfortably at the front of your mouth- don’t bury it.
  • Head Mount: Center the head mount on your forehead around your cap line.


  • Do not rush your flipturns when getting started with snorkel training.
  • Remember to breathe through with your mouth, not your nose!
    • Bonus: It sounds simple but many swimmers simply forget. Steady in and out as you go.
  • During a flip turn I personally prefer to do nothing at all, I don’t blow out air, but just hold onto my breath. After pushing off the wall, I expel it all in one big blast to clear any excess water from the snorkel barrel.
    • Bonus: Don’t panic: occasionally breathing in water & getting water up your nose is common.

Breathing (& Keeping Water Out Of Your Nose)

If you are struggling with breathing and getting water up your nose, I suggest number one to slow down.

Try simply floating with your head down and breathe. Once comfortable,  there add some sculling to slowly work your way down the pool. Try this several times until it becomes easy. See where I am going? Build into it! Now try kicking in a streamline on your belly with fins on, increasing your speed and water displacement. When you are 100% comfortable here try swimming again. If you are impatient, I know I am, you can try using a nose plug. It doesn’t work for everyone but it might work for you.

Our Most Popular Center Mount Snorkels

Using Swim Snorkel With Other Training Gear

Swim snorkels are a “stand alone” piece of training gear and don’t need to be supplemented with other gear. However, adding a snorkel to other parts of your swim workout can add variety and depth to other drills. You can add paddles, or a buoy, fins too! Even a board, as stated above, is a common buddy to the snorkel.

Hope this helps – please let me know what you think – or if you have any questions!

See you at the pool,


About Emily Milak

Emily Milak is a lifetime competitive swimmer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Emily is a US National Team champion, NCAA champion, and USMS champion with extensive coaching experience. She is a product development consultant at Kiefer.

Recent Comment (1)

Very helpful, thank you Emily

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