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BegFly
March 7th, 2011, 12:58 PM
Hey everyone:bliss:

I had a question about side breathing in the butterfly and was hoping someone could help me out as I've been experimenting with it but am not sure if I am doing it correctly. My question is this...

When bringing the head out of the water and turning it to the side do I keep my head in that position when again entering the water or do I move my head back to the front position after turning it. Sorry if this question is stupid but I like the feeling I get when I do the fly like this and want to make sure my head movements are correct.

Thanks!!!

fmracing
March 7th, 2011, 02:30 PM
Get your head back to neutral before your arms come back over or you'll hit your nose with your arm ;)

BegFly
March 7th, 2011, 02:43 PM
I knew it was a dumb question.

Any tips on how to do that though? It's so hard to get my head back to front position before I hit the water, it's like everything has to be done so fast breathing that way!

rtodd
March 7th, 2011, 10:29 PM
YouTube - Magnuson becomes US champion from Universal Sports

jaadams1
March 7th, 2011, 11:04 PM
I knew it was a dumb question.

Any tips on how to do that though? It's so hard to get my head back to front position before I hit the water, it's like everything has to be done so fast breathing that way!

I find it much easier to just breathe out front...why would you want to side breathe in fly anyway? Serious Question...I just don't see the benefits right away. It seems you would have to get out of the water further to side breathe, which would expend more energy to do so.

Swimosaur
March 8th, 2011, 12:08 AM
...why would you want to side breathe in fly anyway? ... It seems you would have to get out of the water further to side breathe, which would expend more energy ...

To me it seems the opposite, like you have to get out of the water further to breathe to the front. So I breathe to the side.

Now, in my case, I have a bit of a reason. I have a mild case of scoliosis, and a larger range of motion when turning my head to the right (as opposed to the left or up). So it's easier for me to reach the air when I turn my head to the right in fly. I also breathe exclusively to the right in free. Wikipedia says, "A scoliosis spinal columns curve of 10 or less affects 1.5% to 3% of individuals". I wonder if side-breathing in fly is similarly rare.

My guess is that in some cases, cervical anatomy might have something to do with breathing preferences in fly & free.

fmracing
March 8th, 2011, 08:26 AM
why would you want to side breathe in fly anyway? Serious Question...I just don't see the benefits right away.

I found that it fixed a problem with my second half of the 100 fly. By breathing side, I wasn't as likely to start going vertical on the back half of the race. I tried to fix this problem for years without any real progress. The week I started side breathing I dropped about a second off my 100 fly, and even more after that. I've done it ever since because it works for me. I can keep the stroke going longer without loss of technique breathing to the side. I've read in books where they call it more of a bad habit... I think they're wrong or msiguided :)

Begfly: the timing of turning your head back to neutral isn't really all that different from swimming crawl. Once you start to turn the head back to neutral, the arm comes over and the bicep basically forces you to turn your cheek back down just like front crawl. (Note, you should be turning the head back on your own, don't use the arm to actually force the head to turn, only to time it).

I could only see this being a problem or becoming difficult if your arms are way too far apart on recovery, like the people/kids who swim "bent arm" fly and their forearms enter at a right angle to their upper arm. Obviously then theres no bicep coming close to the head to help you time the head turn back. But if you swim fly like this, you should first correct the arm stroke rather than worry about the breathing.

Happy side breathing :)

orca1946
March 8th, 2011, 11:48 AM
As a side breather in fly for more than 20 years, I do it the same way that you do free. Head low to the water & return your head to down as you would in free. Down or neutral position for the head is the best way to cut drag. Have you tried to swim free with forward breathing? No , because it will cause your hips to drop & cut back on getting a good air intake.

Chris Stevenson
March 8th, 2011, 01:21 PM
Why don't people breathe to the side in breaststroke?

That Guy
March 8th, 2011, 01:25 PM
Why don't people breathe to the side in breaststroke?

I've seen two different people at my gym who always breathe to the right in breaststroke. I have no theories as to WHY they do that though. :dunno:

Chris Stevenson
March 8th, 2011, 01:33 PM
FWIW, Maglischo is not a fan:


The usual reasons given for breathing in this way are to save energy and maintain a more horizontal body position...They also feel it helps them maintain good horizontal alignment because the act of lifting the head out of the water tends to submerge the hips. This reasoning is fallacious because it overlooks an important difference between the butterfly and the front crawl...butterflyers who breathe to the side must lift the head and shoulders out of the water as much as or more than swimmers who breathe to the front.

(emphasis added)

EM has this to say about front breathing: "[butterflyers] should breathe by elevating the shoulders and trunk above the surface so that they do not have to extend the head up and back to take a breath." He likens the motion to a breath in breaststroke.

EM also disagrees with the currently-popular notion of low arm recovery and jutting chin on the water (Phelps-style) during the breath.

EM is sometimes wrong, of course, and is refreshing in his candor in admitting it.

I know some butterflyers who do very well with side-breathing (my wife is one). Melvin Stewart obviously had some success with the practice. But I disagree with the general pronouncement that it reduces drag for all swimmers. Or even for most swimmers.

knelson
March 8th, 2011, 01:48 PM
Why don't people breathe to the side in breaststroke?

Wouldn't your arms get in the way? It seems to me the over-the-water recovery in fly is what makes side breathing possible.

ElaineK
March 8th, 2011, 05:31 PM
My guess is that in some cases, cervical anatomy might have something to do with breathing preferences in fly & free.

Bingo. Osteoarthritis and degenerative discs at C5-C6-C7 (thanks to an inattentive driver who rear-ended me at full speed in stopped traffic, on the freeway, back in 1992) force me to breathe to the side, if I want to swim fly. Actually, sometimes, I find I have to mix it up in the same lap, if the repetitiveness of breathing one way becomes painful.

orca1946
March 9th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Your arms do not get in your way any more than they do in free!

greenjeans11
March 12th, 2011, 12:25 PM
I sometimes side breathe, head low. I can breathe easier this way when I'm tired- no water in my mouth. It's a real fast breathe.

orca1946
March 12th, 2011, 02:29 PM
What ever works for you in fly is good!! :applaud::banana:

KevinS
March 12th, 2011, 06:59 PM
I tried side breathing last night on an IM set I was doing. I guess it takes some getting used to, I could not get a solid breath to my side. My fly definitely needs work though.

orca1946
March 14th, 2011, 06:23 PM
Are you trying to catch a breath too late or early?
Look at your elbow as something to follow.

KevinS
March 14th, 2011, 10:34 PM
Are you trying to catch a breath too late or early?
Look at your elbow as something to follow.

I have a tendency to breath late on fly. It has been like that since I was younger. Any tips on fixing it?

jaadams1
March 14th, 2011, 11:10 PM
I have a tendency to breath late on fly. It has been like that since I was younger. Any tips on fixing it?

You should be beginning to lift your head slightly for the breath just as your hand begin to break into the sculling part of your pull. The head should be back down as you're finishing the "flip" of your hands past your thighs to recover the arms over the top. If your head is still up breathing at this point you'll feel really awkward.

bamueller
March 14th, 2011, 11:30 PM
I feel like breathing to the side is incorrect form and I try not to do it, but after seeing some national and world caliber swimmers breathing fly to the side, I feel better about it. I know my youth league coaches tried to deter me from breathing to the side, but it feels easier and more comfortable when I am tired. In a race, I do it less, but in practice, I will consistently. I hope I am not creating bad habits.

As far as, "do I rotate my head back to a neutral position after breathing and before entering the water?" I do not. It is just like breathing in free for me. It is just as natural.

I have seen some breast-strokers breath to the side, but not quite as frequent.