While I'm not exactly a sinker, I'm certainly not super-buoyant, so my breathing 'window' is very short and timing is critical...or my head soon falls well below the water line.
I have pulled together several images of various swimmers that seem to be breathing earlier or later in relation to the recovery arm position. Of course the arm moves pretty quickly, and the breath does not occur at 125/of a sec like a camera shutter. LOL! But for argument's sake let's say the breath is initiated at these four arm positions.
I would say my breathing point is probably most similar to #1. This position seems to fit my personal buoyancy (or lack of it). If I breath when my arm is raised up too far, it pushes me down lower in the water (forget high elbows!).
Now, my swim speed is quite slow. I would imagine the timing might have to be altered with an increase in swimming tempo?
Where does everyone fall in this range? Just curious.