Rightly or wrongly I have felt for a while now that once I could "fix" or "capture " the breathing aspect of swimming ... that then I would be on my way -- finally. Thanks to 'Open water breathing patterns' which RXL references, I think a capture is closer at hand than ever before. In the past I have tried to learn bi-lateral breathing with the turn for air after 3 strokes or maybe after two. It works "sort of". But I get lazy and lose focus. However, the 3,2,3,2 pattern is working wonders. This is just after two swims. After I really get used to following a pattern I expect and hope that my sloppy days may fade into the past. What the new pattern has done for me is; help me focus more easily, keeps me feeling I'm not starving for air, and therefore keeps me more relaxed. I have been able to very comfortable complete a length in 17 strokes without trying to rush anything. These are all break-through moments for me. I haven't been as anxious for the next swim day (so to practice this further) for years. Not since first trying the nod & swim drill .... which I feel is the best TI drill in the books - in relation to breathing have I looked forward to the next swim as I do now. The plan is to have this pattern become second nature and blend it with paying better attention to balance and smooth complete strokes.
Glad I saw your posts RXL ... this may be my magic bullet or the key to Pandora's box which frees me from my breathing problems.
If you're not swimming; then you should be skiing......