This is my first post here.
I started swimming four years ago. I grew up with a pool at our house and swimming was always an important part of summer for me, but I never swam competitively. Fast forward a few decades (I'm 47 now). I started swimming because running was becoming too painful for my knees and back, and I was tired of other problems (shin splints, for example).
I started out with breaststroke but now I swim almost nothing but freestyle. I started practicing bilateral breathing just a few months ago because my goal is to enter triathlons starting next year (Olympic distance), and I found that being able to breathe on both sides would be an immense asset after a few open water swims in which I breathed only to one side.
After a timed swim last week in which I tried to do bilateral as much as possible during a 1500m swim, I came up with a time that was slightly better than normal, and this even though I deliberately took it easy for the first half of the swim.
I knew it must have been the higher stroke rate that this unnatural style forces me to use. Yesterday, I timed myself again for 1500m and ended up under 28 minutes for the first time ever (27:48). I again used bilateral breathing and the higher stroke rate.
Now I'm sold on a higher stroke rate! When I breathe to one side, it's very smooth (almost no bubbles even when I push myself), but I pause for a second with my right arm in the water.
Has anyone else experienced something similar with a higher stroke rate?