Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Blowing Bubbles
By Sydney Mason, Swimming World College Intern.
Even if you haven’t heard of bubble rings in the context of swimming, there is no doubt that you’ve seen dozens of photos pop up on your Instagram feed of swimmers lying down at the bottom of the pool with perfect circles traveling toward the surface. It appears to be difficult, but the art of making bubble rings is actually a simple one to master by following these five easy steps.
Before you begin to learn how to make bubble rings, you need to be able to do two things: hold your breath, and find a deep enough pool.
First and foremost, you need to be able to hold your breath for at least 30 seconds. If you can’t, you will not have enough time to position yourself correctly to create the bubbles. The greater your lung capacity, the more bubbles you can make.
Second, but just as important, you will need find a pool with a deep end. Three or four feet of water between you and the surface isn’t enough to allow bubbles to properly form on their journey.
After checking off these two “pre-steps,” you’re ready to begin making bubble rings!
After taking in a large gulp of air, sink to the bottom of the pool and lie down horizontally. You need to do this so that the bubbles created are perfectly circular. If you are lying at an angle with your head facing away from the surface of the water, your bubbles will be disfigured.
Cover your nostrils. This is easily done if you have a snorkeling mask. If you are wearing regular goggles or no goggles at all, you will need to cover your nostrils manually with your fingers or thumbs. Make sure that your arm does not block the area around your mouth. If you don’t cover your nostrils, the bubble rings will be surrounded by thousands of other bubbles coming from your nose.
Purse your lips together with your tongue sticking out of your mouth slightly. Release a burst of air by quickly popping your mouth open but maintaining the perfect circular shape. As you practice, you’ll notice that if you don’t stick your tongue out slightly, it can get in the way and deform the bubbles.
After you have created the first bubble, continue making the “popping” motion to create successive bubbles. As you quickly become an expert in the art of bubble making, you can learn to deftly move your body to create works of art.
Grab your underwater camera and have a photo shoot!
If any of these directions seemed unclear, YouTube videos can be really helpful. Here’s a great video that demonstrates a perfect execution of the bubble ring:
Our Aquatic Mammal Counterparts
If you would like to see bubble rings taken to the next level, check out the video of dolphins making bubble rings below. According to Candace Calloway Whiting of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, dolphins create a vortex of water with their body motion and then “blow a huge bubble of air such that the water vortex pushes through the center and traps a ring of bubbles around its edges.”
Scientists continue to be amazed at dolphins’ abilities with making bubble rings. Now gather your teammates and channel your inner dolphin by practicing your bubble-making skills!
Commentary: All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.