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Thread: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

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    100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Looking for recommendations on a breathing pattern for the 100 Free scy. Two ideas I had were... The first 50 will be faster than the second 50, would it make sense to breath more on the second 50 - the thought being, a breath at a faster speed will have more of a detrimental effect than a breath at a slower speed due to higher drag. Alternatively, it's easier to restrict breathing early on in the race so would it make sense to breath more as the race progresses?

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    Active Member Water Rat's Avatar
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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    I asked this exact question to Nathan Adrian a few months ago. His response? He breathes every stroke in a 100 free but not at all in a 50 free. He's been pretty successful at that distance I'd say.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Interesting. Thanks for the reply. He generally swims LCM now, I wondering if the above statement applies to both LCM and SCY or just LCM.

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    Very Active Member arthur's Avatar
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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    The first 50 should be faster because of the dive but your surface swimming speed should be the same throughout the race. Breathing less on the first 50 to reduce drag shouldn't help. Most swimmers breathe between every 2 strokes and every 4 strokes on 100s (every 1-2 cycles). It requires very good technique to breathe every 2 strokes on a 100 and swim faster than breathing every 3 or 4. Jason Lezak also took a breath every 2 when he went the fastest ever 100 relay split in the 2008 Olympics. Other Olympic gold medalists and world champions have used different breathing patterns.

    It is definitely easier to restrict breathing in the first 50 but it won't be beneficial at the end of your race to have used up all your anaerobic capacity. It is ok to breathe more at the end but it shouldn't change dramatically. You might want to breathe every 4 on the first 25 and then every 3 or 2 for the rest of the race. It is best to practice and find what works out best for you.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    My motto: Air you deny yourself early in the race is air you'll miss on the last 35 or so yards. I breath 3 times in a 50 because I can get to the end before I hit the anaerobic wall. I breath every 3 strokes in a 100, from the breakout, because that anaerobic wall comes well before the end otherwise. I'd breath every 2 but haven't yet figured out how to do it without slowing my cadence too much.

    I used to start a 500 breathing every 3, then switch to 2 at the ~200y mark. When I started breathing every two from the get-go, I dropped 10 seconds almost immediately, almost all of that coming on the back half splits.
    Last edited by Gary P; February 20th, 2015 at 04:37 PM.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat View Post
    I asked this exact question to Nathan Adrian a few months ago. His response? He breathes every stroke in a 100 free but not at all in a 50 free. He's been pretty successful at that distance I'd say.
    This is very interesting when you consider he takes his 50 out in the 100 so fast.

    Is there really any empirical evidence at all that says breathing slows you down? I have a feeling it's one of those things that has been assumed to be true for so long that everyone just believes it.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat View Post
    I asked this exact question to Nathan Adrian a few months ago. His response? He breathes every stroke in a 100 free but not at all in a 50 free. He's been pretty successful at that distance I'd say.
    And to add to the list of fast swimmers taking in copious amount of oxygen, I noticed that Anthony Ervin breathed every stroke, and always to the same side, in his 100 Free at USMS Nationals in Santa Clara.
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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    I generally don't do the 100 free anymore...because I totally suck at all things freestyle now...but I used to do it back in the day.

    I used to do a 5/2 breathing pattern on the first 50 and a 3/2 breathing pattern on the second 50. Probably not the most efficient way to go about it, but it gave me sufficient oxygen both at the beginning and end of the race.

    Lately, though, I've been halfheartedly experimenting with galloping and a 4/2 breathing pattern to my right. Doesn't change the fact that I'm an abysmal freestyler, and has taken quite a bit of getting used to to overcome 17 years of bilateral breathing, but I'm starting to like how it feels when I race. Like with my old 5/2 and 3/2 breathing pattern (which is what I stick to in training when I'm not sprinting, btw), I have no empirical evidence of it being better than any other breathing pattern, but making the shift to only breathing on one side has at least had a mental effect on my swimming.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    I always joke with the high school swimmers on our team to swim a 100 free similar to a 50 but "breathe more!" Typically what I encourage them to do is to breathe every four strokes that way they have breathed enough in the first half of the race to get them through to the end.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    This is very interesting when you consider he takes his 50 out in the 100 so fast.

    Is there really any empirical evidence at all that says breathing slows you down? I have a feeling it's one of those things that has been assumed to be true for so long that everyone just believes it.
    I actually get dizzy when I go all out and try to breathe every cycle. Your comment did make me wonder, though, and I think I'm going to experiment in my workouts with higher breathing frequencies on 50s. I already know that breathing a lot is particularly useful in long course, where you'll see even the fastest men losing a lot of speed in the last 5m.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    I strive for 6 stroke breathing on the first 25 and 4 thereafter. Usually I have a couple 2s somewhere but its solved by taper.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands View Post
    I actually get dizzy when I go all out and try to breathe every cycle.
    I suppose a person's stroke rate could be fast enough that every stroke cycle would be too often. For most Masters swimmers, though (including, apparently, Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian), it's not. I am no expert in the 100 free but I swam a lifetime best in it at 45 breathing every stroke cycle except off the start and turns. On a related note, I also kicked a lot.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by ourswimmer View Post
    I suppose a person's stroke rate could be fast enough that every stroke cycle would be too often. For most Masters swimmers, though (including, apparently, Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian), it's not. I am no expert in the 100 free but I swam a lifetime best in it at 45 breathing every stroke cycle except off the start and turns. On a related note, I also kicked a lot.
    My stroke rate is not that fast, and both Adrian and Ervin do their 50s heads down. The 100 is not done all-out.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Depends

    What's your time for 100 FR?
    What is your age?
    How do you train?

    The 100 is a sprint
    You don't need to breathe as much as you think you do
    Breathe when you need to breathe
    BUT practice swimming fast with your lungs FULL of air
    Take big breaths & hold your air

    If you really want to swim faster There's more important stuff to do and think about than breathing

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    It's a tradeoff for sure. Despite what Nathan told me and what Anthony does, I think i'm more in the 2 to 4 strokes (never 3 or 5) camp. I like to take the first 50 out easy speed. I don't really think about breathing. More about establishing a comfortably fast stroke rate where I can fit my breathing in without messing up the rhythm. It's probably every 4 the first 50 and every 2 the 2nd 50.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    Appreciate all the feedback. I'll start experimenting and see what works best. I never really had a plan in the past, but would like to have some strategy for future races. When I swim a 50 I don't take any breaths.

    Recently I've started doing more sprinting in practice, doing all out 25s. One thing I've noticed is I'm not that good a taking breaths at top speed. I tend to swallow water. I've seen several videos on how you're supposed to breath in the trough of the bow wave. When swimming slow to moderate it's not an issue, when sprinting it becomes a problem.

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    Re: 100 SCY FREE Breathing Pattern/Strategy

    100 Free is generally 52.5 to 54.0
    50 Free is generally 24.0 to 24.3
    Age 40 (not sure why this is relevant to breathing pattern)
    Training, 5 days/week, 18K-20K. Used to do 3 masters workouts and 2 solo workouts, typical masters type sets. Recently modified solo workouts to be a mix of all out sprints and recovery.

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