With a worried look, the master's coach looked over at me and said, "You OK?" I responded with "aeeahdhhah ahdasfhhhahahha" or some other representation of trying to talk when your lungs have stopped functioning. I help up 1 finger asking for a moment, took off my goggles slowly, and finally said, "I think my lungs are abnormally small for a man my size."
Now here's when you can tell a coach is a good coach. He should have said, "you're an idiot" and moved a lane or two farther away from me for safety's sake. But he didn't, he said, "do you breathe into your chest or your stomach?" At this point, I should have said, "are you crazy? take a freakin' physiology course you swimming mutant!" But instead I stifled my fatigue-based anger and answered truthfully, "my chest I think" and he spent some time explaining how I could breathe more deeply in the same amount of time. He also gave me other advice but I am not about to try to work on two things at once.
OK, breathe into my stomach, a place where the Flying Spaghetti Monster did not place my lungs. I'll try that. First lap I kept gulping water for some reason. AND my goggles leaked. I must have been doing it wrong. Second lap, my eyes stayed dry but I kept gulping water. It was getting better.
I only had 8 laps left when he gave me this advice and the first two were obviously wasted with my thirst for drinking chlorinated water. But the last six? Yeah, it felt like I was getting more air. A new routine threw my stroke into complete disarray but I was getting some more air. I think with a bit of practice, this might work. Once I get past the idea that my lungs are in my stomach now.