How to Keep Water Out of My Nose (The Human Nose Clip) - part 2

Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Jul 4, 2011

How to Keep Water Out of My Nose (The Human Nose Clip) - part 2

I already showed you, in my previous article, how to prevent water getting up your nose while going under water, floating or swimming on your stomach. This is, however, just one part of the nose plugging story. If you do not know the rest of it, I am afraid that for some swim positions, nose clips/plugs are the only available tool to help with stopping water running through your nostrils.

Nose clip with lips (front)
You already know how to plug your nose with the soft palate technique while swimming freestyle or while sinking under water, however, what if you find yourself under the water on your back? May it be when you push off the wall to swim in a streamline, during a flip turn or when you just look up to the ceiling while under the water. You probably already noticed that plugging your nose with the use of the soft palate approach does not work in this case. Air buoyancy and the difference in pressure will cause the air from your lungs to escape from your nose and water will get in there instead. A totally different nose plugging technique is required to remedy the loss of air and influx of water. While being under water on your back, there are actually two questions which you need to answer. How do I plug my nose, so the air does not escape out of my lungs through it? and How do I stop water from entering my nose? Luckly there are a couple of nose plugging techniques which will help you answer both of them, will make your swimming more enjoyable and make your nose dry.

Human Nose Clip Technique

The first and the best human nose clip technique utilizes your upper lip to plug the two nostrils on the bottom of your nose. Beware though, your upper lip cannot curl up by itself. If you only concentrate on moving your upper lip up towards the nostrils, it will not work. You will first need to use the bottom jaw (mandible) to achieve the desired human nose clip grimace. Find yourself a mirror, ideally somewhere in private. Watching your mouth in the mirror, move the lower jaw slightly forward as if you want to create an underbite where your lower teeth are in front of your upper set of teeth. Beware of moving your entire neck though. Just move your lower jaw slightly forward and keep your head and neck stationary. When your lower jaw is moved forward, then put your lips together in a puckered position as if you would like to kiss someone (in other words, you push with your lower lip up). For you naughty ones, no french kissing here :), keep your mouth shut. You will notice that if you keep the lower jaw forward, you cannot kiss someone in front of you, but your lips will start bending toward your nose a little as if you'd like to land a big fat kiss to the tip of your nose. Of course, this is a bit of an exaggeration as this is for most of us impossible to do, so better way to describe it is that you will notice your upper lip touching or being quite close to the nostrils. Check out the two nose plugging images on this page to visualize what it looks like (it ain't pretty, but it does the job :)).

Nose clip with lips (profile)
The ultimate goal is to get that upper lip flat against the nostrils, so there is no or very little air that escapes from them. When you master this human nose clip techniqe, you will be able to lay on your back on the bottom of the pool with very little or no air escaping from your nose. If you are struggling to get the upper lip to your nose via the above described process, don't despair. Keep practicing this in front of the mirror and perhaps you will improve. If you have a thick mustache, the human nose clip echnique might prove to be quite challenging as the air escapes through it. Shave the mustache off and try it again.

Fill the Nose Technique

Unfortunately, some of us have very small lips and maybe even small noses, so there is no way for the upper lip to reach the bottom of the nose to plug it up properly. If you are one of these unlucky individuals, I am afraid, you will have to take another route which is a bit more uncomfortable. This brings me to the second approach of plugging your nose. You will be happy to know that this approach does not involve any weird lip and mouth gymnastics. It merely involves sucking some water up your nose while you are under water which in turn will plug your nose against escaping air and no more water will get in as you have also evened out the pressure. As you can see, this technique is quite simple, but not ideal as it is very uncomfortable to be intentionally sucking water in your nose all the time. Moreover you will end up with a snotty nose for a few hours after your swim practice. There is nothing more exciting than going on a date after exploring this technique in the pool :). Let's just say, you might not get a second one hehe.

That said, both of these techniques are used successfully by top athletes and lap swimmers all over the world, so it is just up to you to choose which one best suits you. If you are having trouble with water getting up your nose in frontal position, please try the soft palate approach. Truth be told, none of the techniques are perfect. Using a regular swimming nose clip is still the best and easist way to plug your nose, so if you have failed to replicate the above techniques, just get a nose clip and your swimming will be a blast, your nose dry and you might get a second date :).

Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.