Strumbelj, B. (2007). Breathing frequency patterns during submaximal and maximal front crawl swim with and without a respiratory valve. Kinesiology, 39, 165-171.

This study ascertained the effect of a respiratory valve and tubes during three different swimming tests (submaximal and maximal 200-m front crawl swim and front crawl swimming to exhaustion) on a breathing frequency, selected biomechanical parameters such as stroke rate and number of breaths, and parameters of blood acid-base status and blood lactate concentration. Former competitive male swimmers (N = 12) performed each swimming test twice: first, with a respiratory valve, and then without a respiratory valve.

Swimming with a respiratory valve induced a slower maximal 200-m front crawl swim and shorter front crawl swimming to exhaustion in comparison with swimming without a respiratory valve. Patterns of the breathing frequency during the submaximaI and maximal swimming tests differed between swimming with and without a respiratory valve. Significant blood lactate differences between the two conditions were also found.

Implication. When a respiratory valve is used during swimming, a different pattern of breathing and level of work is produced. [This also suggests that using snorkels in practice would also introduce irrelevant factors into crawl swimming technique.]

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