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Wearing a Nose Clip in Swimming


Hi Gary,

I noticed some swimmers used nose clip (or nose plug) when competing in backstroke races. Does this gadget help in any way? Also, is it advisable for young swimmers to use it?


Kim (Singapore)


Hi Kim,

The main reason that some swimmers use a nose clip in backstroke is to stop water going up their nose when they are pushing off the wall on their back.

Nose clips became more popular when swimmers were allowed to kick up to 15m underwater doing dolphin kick on their back.  Many swimmers could not blow out through their nose for that period of time and had water go up their nose continually.  The solution was to wear a nose clip.

Nose clips are also used by synchronised swimmers when they do routines that require them to hold their breath for a long time under water.

When I swam, I used a nose clip for the last few years as I used to have sinus problems at the time.  The nose clip reduced greatly the amount of water that went up my nose but also I felt like it limited the amount of oxygen I was getting in practice and also in races.  In the end I used a nose clip in training and didn’t use one in races.

For young children, if they can manage backstroke without using a nose clip then I would recommend that however if they do need to use one either to help with breath control or reduce sinus infections then they can certainly use one.  Many top backstrokers around the world currently use a nose clip.



The Swimming Expert

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