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Swimming with nose clips: what are the advantages of using them?

Struggle with your breathing in front crawl and wondering whether to try a nose clip? Former national-level swimmer Ollie Willis explains the pros and cons

We explain the advantages and disadvantages of swimming with a nose clip. Credit: FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images

Using a nose clip while swimming is really down to personal preference. Some elite swimmers choose to wear them because it allows them to stop water going up their noses and can help them to have a more effective underwater phase.


The same approach applies to any stroke, and nose clips can be a helpful tool if you’re struggling to breathe while training and racing as it can be a good way to provide a more efficient oxygen intake. Many argue that they don’t do anything for your street cred and that might be right, but who cares if you end up popping out a new swim PB?!

Why do swimmers wear nose clips?

The main advantage of wearing a nose clip swimming is that it prevents water travelling up the nose during all strokes, allowing you to focus on solely breathing through your mouth. They can also help alleviate any allergic reactions to chlorine and prevent developing pesky sinus infections.

Do Olympic swimmers wear nose clips? 

Even the cream of the crop suffer from water up the nose. You’ll often see elite and Olympic swimmers wearing nose clips to avoid water ingress and ingesting too much chlorine.


Clips also encourage more efficient breathing and can help swimmers hold their breath underwater when they do dolphin kick. Backstrokers in particular can benefit from them; 2012 Olympic 200m backstroke gold medallist Tyler Clary used a nose clip, for example. As did backstroke specialist, and five-time Olympic swim gold medallist, Missy Franklin.