One of the most important and essential techniques to master is the side breath. A lot of beginners will struggle with this technique as it seems unnatural to them but once mastered it will make all the difference in their speed and style.
1- HEAD MOVEMENT: Make sure you rotate just your head without over-rotating your body. Your head should rotate and look slightly to the back, not up to the sky.
2- GOGGLE POSITION: One goggle should be totally submerged in the water. Half your face should be submerged.
3- THE MOUTH: Aim to open your mouth to one side for maximum exposure to air. It is OK if some water seeps in your mouth.
4- Breath In from your mouth and out from your nose.
5- The breath has to be quick, many swimmers tend to slow down the stroke to give themselves enough time to breath in.
6- Aim to breath from both sides, most swimmer will prefer one side to the other but that will always put more strain on the other shoulder. If you always breath from the right, you will strain your left shoulder and vise versa.
Your breath should always be seamless inside your stroke to avoid loss of speed. This is truly a skill that separates the elite freestyle swimmers from the not so elite so practice, practice, practice.