Originally Posted by gary p
I agree that it's a nice skill to have, and probably a necessary skill for open water, but I also rarely use a bilateral pattern anymore, especially in the pool. On longer distance races, (200Y plus), I'm breathing every stroke on the right. I sometimes even breath on consecutive pulls,right/left, if that last pull before a flip turn is going to be with the right hand. Conversely, I breath every 4 strokes on the left on a 100 sprint. On a 50, it's only one (short course) or two (long course), to the left. I have a bit of a "lope" when breathing to the right. Breathing to the left on sprints helps me keep my stroke rate up.
The higher you move up on the performance curve the less you find swimmers breathing every 3rd. Like you mine gets tweaked on the need, but other than a short course 50 where I don't take any breaths I'm breathing every left hand hit.