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DWIGHT CAMPBELL
June 29th, 2008, 10:21 AM
I breathe on one side. I would like to start training myself to alternate breathing-any drills to suggest?

geochuck
June 29th, 2008, 10:27 AM
Simple take 3 strokes and breathe on the opposite side. Here are some comments on Bilateral breathing http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=9170&highlight=bilateral+breathing

smontanaro
June 29th, 2008, 01:54 PM
George doesn't give any clue how hard that is. ;) You might try three strokes then glide. The glide gives you a chance to make sure you're long on both sides, rotate the same amount, have the same head position, etc. Take your breath after the second stroke. Another is 10 kicks to one pull. Focus on proper rotation and keep your face pointed at the bottom of the pool except to breathe. Breath before the pull, not after.

I found it very hard to breathe bilaterally and still don't do it well. I never feel like I can take in as much air on my left side as my right. There is definitely still some imbalance there.

Skip

ehoch
June 29th, 2008, 02:16 PM
Alternate side breathing is one of the most overrrated things in swimming. Watch the trials and tell me how many people do this -- almost nobody.

tjrpatt
June 29th, 2008, 03:35 PM
I usually breathe to one side in my races but on the last few laps, I breathe every third stroke.

ViveBene
June 29th, 2008, 04:10 PM
I taught myself bilateral/rotational breathing before I had a coach, and even so noticed that my speed picked up. I couldn't believe it, it felt so slow and awkward at first, but the pace clock said faster every time.

With a coach: single-arm drills.

Back to me: I use the good side to inform the worse side how things should feel. Sometimes in the middle of a length of single-arm drills on the new side I will stroke once on the old side as a quick check.

I have 20 years of one-sided breathing to get over, but it's happening. Bilateral breathing also (in my case) has improved the roll, the core action, and several other things, and it simply releases me from the tether of one-sided breathing. Instead of 2, 4, 6, etc. I can breathe in any combination. :agree:

I won't be competing with Phelps, so it's OK if he does it differently.

VB

pakman044
June 29th, 2008, 06:37 PM
You know, I'm 24, and even though that sounds relatively young, I'd pretty much written bilateral breathing off as something I'd probably not really grasp. I've been swimming for about 17-18 years now (I've lost track), so it gets harder to unlearn bad habits.

But after I swam the 1650 at a meet in April, I thought it might be a good idea to give bilateral breathing a try. I was as uncomfortable as I ever remember at first, but after about two months now, all of my freestyle is bilateral now, and I only backslide occassionally to my previous bad habits. Sure my stroke has gotten sloppier as a result, and I haven't really tested it with some good high intensity intervals, but those are short term issues I'll trade for the long term benefit.

My suggestion would be not to try to convert all at once. I'd start with short distances at a time in your workout--maybe 25 or 50. Then work your way up as you get more comfortable, say a 100 or 200 or 300 as part of your warmup. The key is not to expect a rapid or dramatic improvement at any one point. Even 6-12 months (or more) is a worthwhile amount of time.

The two issues that I've had issues with are not being able to rotate as far to my nondominant side and not getting enough air. For the former issue, I'd recommend doing something akin to a 3 second body roll--kick on one side for three seconds, take a stroke and roll over to your other side, and kick for three seconds. Good body rotation without having the move your neck makes it easier.

For not getting enough air, you want to make sure your mouth and nose get out far enough and you get a deep enough breath (which may be hard if you don't normally breath on that side).

~~~
I also noticed that some (don't know how many) swimmers breathed to one side at Trials. I think part of this issue is that many of these swimmers got used to breathing towards one side, and since that works for them, there's a greater risk of screwing up their stroke. (Whereas for a slowpoke like me, you can't get that much slower!).

In sprint races, when you may be taking X number of breaths per length, it may matter less that you breath to the same side. For longer races, I would think that there would be a greater incremental effect (more breaths, and more breaths per length). But that's just a hunch.

Patrick King

LindsayNB
June 29th, 2008, 06:50 PM
I think it's important to distinguish between being able to breath to either side and alternating breaths to either side (breathing every third stroke).

To me it makes sense to learn to comfortably breath to either side and then pick the breathing pattern that is the best trade off for a particular speed and distance rather than specifically learning to breath every third stroke.

cwilson
July 8th, 2008, 10:31 PM
Alternate side breathing is one of the most overrrated things in swimming. Watch the trials and tell me how many people do this -- almost nobody.

I was extremely surprised at the number of US Olympic Trials swimmers who didn't bilateral breath...And it was nailed into me to breathe every three or else. I guess it comes down to what works for you.

I thought it was also interesting how many different butterfly breathing patterns there were.

smontanaro
July 8th, 2008, 10:39 PM
I thought it was also interesting how many different butterfly breathing patterns there were.

Anyone with ideas how to learn to breathe to the side in fly???

Skip

Jazz Hands
July 8th, 2008, 10:48 PM
Alternate side breathing is one of the most overrrated things in swimming. Watch the trials and tell me how many people do this -- almost nobody.

Seconding this. Every swimmer has a strong side to breathe on. In races, it's a good idea to go to this side.

geochuck
July 8th, 2008, 11:04 PM
Anyone with ideas how to learn to breathe to the side in fly???

Skip

Very easy and simple instructions, you put your left ear in and your right ear out and shake it all about. Here is an instruction video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNaO1TRIIs4 That is how you do the Ockey Cokey.

ourswimmer
July 9th, 2008, 09:49 AM
Anyone with ideas how to learn to breathe to the side in fly???

Skip

I have been working on that, because I have a neck problem that makes front breathing painful. I have two teammates who do it pretty well and I watched them a lot. Also, when I set my mind to learning it I did a lot of one-arm drill, and wore fins to be sure I could get my head out enough to get air.

I think breathing to the side forces me to breathe a little later than breathing to the front, which is OK because like most people I tended to breathe a little too early to the front. Mostly I just had to get used to it, same as I had to get used to breathing to my "wrong" side when I first learned bilateral breathing in freestyle. It felt so awkward at first.

geochuck
July 9th, 2008, 09:56 AM
Ourswimmer I mostly do my fly as one arm fly and that would be a great way to learn side breathing on the fly. I will give it a try during full stroke although I really feel comfortable breathing forward. I guess it would be easier for me to breathe on the left so I will put my right ear in and my left out.

LindsayNB
July 9th, 2008, 11:29 AM
I think breathing to the side forces me to breathe a little later than breathing to the front, which is OK because like most people I tended to breathe a little too early to the front.

Really? I find that far more people breath too late in fly (including me) than breath too early! Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever watched someone and thought, "they're breathing too early." What problem occurs when you breath too early?

pwolf66
July 9th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Really? I find that far more people breath too late in fly (including me) than breath too early! Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever watched someone and thought, "they're breathing too early." What problem occurs when you breath too early?

You become fatigued much more quickly. My daughter breathes early (or too late depending). She breathes as she starts her arm recovery. I have been trying to work with her on it for the last 2 months, I've also had her in one on one lessons and so far, no dice. She swims a pretty good stroke if she doesn't breathe but when she breathes it's a train wreck.

LindsayNB
July 9th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Based on Phelps and Crocker it seems breathing should occur during the finish of the pull. No?

ViveBene
July 9th, 2008, 01:10 PM
Lindsay,
Thanks. That image sequence is really helpful.

(Will you be putting up a narrative about your swim vacation somewhere on the Web?)

Thanks, VB

geochuck
July 9th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Lindsay very good

I would like to see a few pics in advance of your snippets if possible. I would like to see the position of the head as the hands enter until they come out at the finish.

LindsayNB
July 9th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Lindsay very good

I would like to see a few pics in advance of your snippets if possible. I would like to see the position of the head as the hands enter until they come out at the finish.

Unfortunately I made that picture about a year ago and I can't seem to find the video clip the frames are captured from. I'm pretty sure it is from the old Phelps/Bowman Swim Fast Butterfly DVD. People have posted links to that video on google and youtube. Sorry.

geochuck
July 9th, 2008, 03:12 PM
Here is a very small clip http://www.fotosearch.com/DGT722/r0004-007/

This one is good http://www.fotosearch.com/UNF268/u10661579/

This one not so good http://www.fotosearch.com/UNF268/u16650845/

And 120 stills. http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/butterfly-stroke.html

LindsayNB
July 9th, 2008, 03:57 PM
In some of those still pictures the swimmer is incredibly high out of the water!

One of the things I enjoyed with trials was watching the heats where you got to see a lot of variations on the strokes, in my case I was most interested in the butterfly. It was interesting to wonder whether some of those strokes were the right stroke for that individual or whether the swimmer would have been even better with a more orthodox stroke.

geochuck
July 9th, 2008, 04:01 PM
Nice video hear on butterfly http://www.nyhoff.net/swimcity/Butterfly-SwimcityMediaCentre-TomMalchow200mSemiSydney2000.mpg

Have you gone to this site, lots of advice and little swim clips http://www.sportplan.net/drills/Swimming/index.jsp
After afew viewings if you like what they have you can pay 50 English pounds a year for a single sport.

3strokes
July 10th, 2008, 01:14 PM
Simple take 3 strokes and breathe on the opposite side.

Kindly leave me out of this...............
I always breathe on one side.
:notworthy:

3strokes
July 10th, 2008, 01:23 PM
Alternate side breathing is one of the most overrrated things in swimming. Watch the trials and tell me how many people do this -- almost nobody.

You're right in that Top Elite swimmers do not alternate-breathe while swimming competitions. They almost always breathe to their favourite side. However, they are equally comfortable breathing on either side so that ----- should the need arise---- they can look over at a competitor on their "weak" side and do swim whole lengths breathing on their second-favourite side.

Us, lower-level swimmers, need to be able to try and create a comfort (or semi-comfort) zone breathing on the "other" side.

bud
July 11th, 2008, 12:52 AM
I breathe on one side. I would like to start training myself to alternate breathing-any drills to suggest?
One simple solution is to always look to the same side of the pool... for at least part of your practice. It is going to seem REALLY awkward at first, but eventually you will get it. Pay careful attention to what works on the "good' side, and try to translate that to the "new" side. Stay focused on streamlining and balance and you'll do great!

Regardless of how you breathe in competition I believe it is a really good idea to learn to routinely, and at will, be able to breathe on either side in front crawl. If you don't you will get some imbalance in your stroke, and your body too if you swim enough.

Have Fun!

knelson
July 11th, 2008, 01:01 AM
A 3-2 sequence works well, too. That way you breathe twice on one side then switch to the other.

smontanaro
July 11th, 2008, 06:46 AM
I think there are a number of reasons we unilateral breathers have "weak" sides when breathing:

our head motion (the path it takes when breathing) is different. I'm pretty sure I have a strong tendency to lift my head when breathing on my weak side. If I focus on not doing that and peak back toward my left shoulder and elbow I do a bit better.
we are probably flatter in the water (don't roll as well) to the weak side.
the extension of our opposite arm when breathing is different (much weaker catch). I extend well with my left arm (breathe well on to my right), but not so much with my right arm. Consequently, I will find that sometimes my right arm is halfway through the pull while I'm mid-breath.
things fall apart much more when we're tired.


These are things I've noticed about my own breathing asymmetries. I can do okay for a time if I concentrate on them. But then I'm not concentrating on all the other things I need to pay attention to. The last point suggests to me that spending a little time getting the mechanics down when you're fresh is worthwhile. Once you have the mechanics down in the best situations, try a bit of breath work after a hard set when you're gassed.

Skip

MAC swimmer
July 11th, 2008, 07:03 AM
My coach yells at me all the time to bilaterally breath. When I am winded I take two breaths on one side and the two breaths on the other etc.

Then when I am really tired, I breath on one side (every stroke) for one length and then the other side for the other length--that is bilateral breathing.

Just whisper it, "Coming home in the 400 and 200 Im, Phelps does not bilaterally breath...neither does Grant Hackett on the 1500."

Yes, I have a strong and weak side.

LindsayNB
July 11th, 2008, 10:44 AM
This video of Michael Phelps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9Dc) was posted on another thread. It made me wonder whether his asymmetric stroke had more to with his submerged style of swimming than having a weak side. He is totally submerged for a good part of the stroke. I was also struck that he breathed very early, almost in the end of the pull and very early part of the recovery, like in fly.

geochuck
July 11th, 2008, 10:56 AM
Lindsay it seems to me this is a very misleading video. I would rather view a video of him racing at speed.

The video shows him swimming at what I would call a very relaxed pace. It is fast but not at the speed he would do a 100 or 200.

He certainly looks great in this video. But it is not what I would liketo see.

bud
July 12th, 2008, 12:45 AM
This video of Michael Phelps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9Dc) ... made me wonder whether his asymmetric stroke had more to with his submerged style of swimming than having a weak side. He is totally submerged for a good part of the stroke. I was also struck that he breathed very early, almost in the end of the pull and very early part of the recovery, like in fly.
I think this is a very cool vid. In the fishbowl shot he does seem to lope through the water, in an almost fly-like fashion. Thanks for pointing out the timing of his breath there. Hummmmmm....

splash
July 12th, 2008, 09:57 AM
This video of Michael Phelps (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9Dc) was posted on another thread. It made me wonder whether his asymmetric stroke had more to with his submerged style of swimming than having a weak side. He is totally submerged for a good part of the stroke. I was also struck that he breathed very early, almost in the end of the pull and very early part of the recovery, like in fly.

Here is another video showing how unsual Phelp's freestyle stroke is. Chris Thompson's stroke seems to be elegant, smooth; Phelp's asymetrical, powerful and jerky almost struggling. Top view camera shows his breathing style to be indeed similar to one-arm butterfly. I admire Phelp's power and speed, however, i would not suggest for somebody to follow mechanics of his freestyle stroke.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=E2n6FRHh9UE&NR

For freestyle stroke mechanics, I would also recommend "smooth swimming"
http://youtube.com/watch?v=7dJs0ToB_z4

From my experience, as a recreational master swimmer that relies solely on the internet for swimming technique tips, in bilateral breathing it is important to pay attention to long and short axis body balance. This balance feel very natural on the dominant side, however, it is akward or missing on the other side - kicking can help to maintain balance and smoothness.

geochuck
July 12th, 2008, 10:40 AM
We can all watch these great videos of swimmers. We can all try to emulate these swimmers but without supervision of a coach you will not necessarily become a good swimmer.

Someone must point out your flaws.

pwolf66
July 14th, 2008, 09:14 AM
Based on Phelps and Crocker it seems breathing should occur during the finish of the pull. No?

The breath should be taken as the hands start the recovery, yes. But the head should be lifting from the water as the hands enter the press portion of the pull and the head should be settling into the water as the hands come forward.

There is a definate movement sequence that a proper breathing patern must follow in Fly but just saying breathing is at the finish of the pull is a little misleading.

Paul