View Full Version : Utah Masters Coaches League

Dennis Tesch
January 6th, 2008, 07:44 PM
Hello Utah Coaches....

As discussed in our meeting in November, we will be using this forum to communicate, post workouts, set goals, ask questions of each other, or post whatever you think is appropriate to help grow and improve Utah Masters coaching and their teams. Here is my first question....

I've always wanted to ask this of other coaches. It is in regarding to how you coach breathing patterns. What is your philosophy regarding bilateral breathing? Do you think people should do it all the time? Is it good for stroke mechanics? What do you think about distance swimmers bilateral breathing in events over 500 yards?

I will post my thoughts soon. I look forward to seeing your thoughts.

January 7th, 2008, 11:16 AM
I feel that bilateral breathing helps to balance out a stroke. However, with many of my swimmers it causes more havoc than good. I personally prefer to breath every third unless I absolutely cannot hold that pattern. With regards to distance swimming, I feel that breathing every two or three is best. I cannot hold a longer pattern. I feel that three is best as long as you can hold that pattern. Once it becomes strenuous to maintain a breathing pattern it is no longer benefitial in competition. I feel it is excellent to practice pushing yourself in a practice so you get used to difficult situations and can better handle the stress of a competition. In practices I generally let my swimmers breath the pattern they feel most comfortable with but I throw in some sets that have a defined bilateral breathing pattern. In those sets I usually have them breath 3, 5, 7, by 25's to get practice with bilateral breathing and breath control.

--Kim Howe

Dennis Tesch
January 25th, 2008, 01:27 PM
I've finally found time to express my thoughts on bilateral breathing. :soapbox:

Let start by saying that bilateral breathing can be used as a great tool to improve efficiency in many swimmers strokes, but I find the use and implementation of bilateral breathing to be very inefficient to the competitive swimmer. I will try and explain why I think this:

These are the reason why I think bilateral breathing is good
1. Helps create a balanced stroke - this is great during low intensity drill sets.
2. It will help in your oxygen intake and breath control.
3. Helps open water athletes to learn how to breath to both sides. This is essential depending on water conditions and competitors around you.

Here are some reason why I think bilateral breathing is used incorrectly during racing situations.
1. To use bilateral breathing in races over 400 meters/500 yards (200's in beginner swimmers) is poor use of oxygen exchange that is needed dearly in aerobic events. Why would anyone reduce their oxygen comsumption by 30% during a race. Physiologically you can't maintain the same high intensity aerobic pace bilaterally breathing as you can breathing everytime to one side.
2. I've found in many swimmers that bilateral breathing actually flattens their strokes out. They rotate less trying to maintain a balance stroke. Most swimmers do not rotate more or keep one hand higher when doing this drill, they usually flatten out and shorten their stroke. (This is when training hard and for long periods of time.)
3. On a personal note, I had a coach train me for 4 years to bilateral breath when I competed. I became pretty efficient at doing this, but even today I am still more uncomfortable breathing to my bad side. In college I switch back to breathing to one side and a improved immediately. Watching many of the elite distance swimmers on tv I've noticed that most of their strokes are a little uneven - as in one side is stronger or rotates more to one side and they all breath to oneside. I'm am of strong opinion that breathing to one side is more effiecent and better for most swimmers. Would we ever make people write with their bad hand, why should we make swimmers breath to their bad side?

I think there are some good reason to learn to breath to your bad side for drills and effiecency, but stick to what you are good at and breath to your good side.