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  #11  
Old 08-02-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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There have been many discussions about breathing patterns on this forum, one at least of which got rather heated, but breathing is one of the most interesting elements of freestyle and also in many ways one of the trickiest.

I have always been a left side breather since learning to swim front crawl thanks to Terry's first book, and over the last few years I have been trying to incorporate alternate breathing into my stroke with a modicum of success. I still breathe to the left for preference but can now breathe to either side with relative ease if I have a little time to think about it. I have found that breathing every three strokes is difficult for me and every five is easier, although I can't sustain the every five pattern for very long. Over a single length of a 25M pool I can breathe every five, every seven or sometimes every nine, or even every eleven, but after the turn I cannot sustain these patterns and have to revert to more frequent breaths, sometimes managing some breaths at every three. I expect that eventually I will be able to breathe either side at will. I think the exhalation is the really important part of breathing and the right side breaths seem to come easier if I have fully exhaled or almost so. Breathing to the left does not require any real thought, and often happens unintentionally, while breathing to the right requires the intention to do so and focusing on the right hand as it spears forward. I imagine that everyone has a slightly different approach and perhaps some necks are more flexible than others, but in my case it seems to be more a matter of ingrained habit.
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  #12  
Old 08-03-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Breathing to the left does not require any real thought, and often happens unintentionally, while breathing to the right requires the intention to do so and focusing on the right hand as it spears forward. I imagine that everyone has a slightly different approach and perhaps some necks are more flexible than others, but in my case it seems to be more a matter of ingrained habit.
Hi Richard,

The problem on your right shoulder breath is most likely tension in neck. I often see swimmers tucking chin and looking back as they follow shoulder to air on their weaker side. Tucking the chin also causes the body to yaw right on right shoulder breath and yaw left on left shoulder breath. Try follow right shoulder to air, no neck tension, one goggle above should be looking 90 degs to the head, spine rotation axis (no looking back with a tucked chin)

Stuart
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  #13  
Old 08-03-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Stuart

Neck tension is something I have been aware of for some time and try to eliminate it. I don't think I tuck my chin when I breathe but I'll direct my attention to that possibility the next time I swim. Actually I often feel as though my right side breath is better than my left, but of course this could be my imagination. It definitely requires conscious thought, though, whereas the left breath just sort of happens. Sometimes I'm not sure whether I've just taken a breath or not.

It keeps me occupied for a half hour or so anyway.;-)
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  #14  
Old 08-04-2015
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Hi Richard,

Most swimmers aren't aware of chin tuck when breathing until they see it on video. Have someone video you from deck as they walk along side, breathe toward the camera. Look for chin tuck, lifting head (2 goggles above surf), entering recovery arm flat and/or in front of head on your breathing stroke.

Another thing you can do to create symmetry in breathing is breathe on one's, i.e breath left then breathe to your right on very next stroke. Do it for two strokes, then go back to breathing on two's. Mix in the breathing on one's frequently and allows you to get more air too. :-)

Stuart
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  #15  
Old 08-04-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Stuart

Unfortunately pools in the UK don't normally allow video in public sessions. I belong to a masters club but their pool is 40 miles away and there are no practices in August. Perhaps I can get some video in September.

Meanwhile I'll continue working on bilateral breathing.
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  #16  
Old 08-04-2015
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Ahh right, I heard about the no filming thing in UK, and some pools in SoCal frown on it as well. Ask your coach to quickly film you under the radar as you swim in lane next to the deck. Tape your phone to a pull-buoy (I've done this before), start the camera-video, and have coach walk along side for a length filming your breath. Pull-buoy provides a good handle and platform for the phone-cams. There is a good use for the pull-buoy after all :-)

Stuart
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  #17  
Old 08-05-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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It will be some time before I can get video. Definitely not before September. Meanwhile I must rely on proprioception, which I know is very unreliable. However I am fairly sure that only one goggle glass appears above the surface and only part of the mouth. Often on the right side I find that I am still breathing out as the mouth breaks the surface and I can feel and hear the bubbles. I think I get less air on the right side, probably because of this.

I suppose a possible approach would be to try to convert entirely to right side breathing for a while. I seem to remember that Howard Firby mentioned doing this with his swimmers in his book.

However, most top male pool swimmers are one-sided breathers, even if they can breathe both sides in a pinch. In open water I am more likely to swim breaststroke if I have to swim any distance. I have not entered the sea this year yet,and I had better hurry before it's too late. They tell me the water is quite pleasant at the moment.
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  #18  
Old 08-05-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
... I often see swimmers tucking chin and looking back as they follow shoulder to air on their weaker side. Tucking the chin also causes the body to yaw right on right shoulder breath and yaw left on left shoulder breath. ...
That is exactly what I found I was doing a while back (it's a prime focus for me now). There were some extended conversarions about it here, complete with diagrams Tom had commented on a video of mine and we'd both found that "looking slightly forward" on breathing corrected it, or at least for me it broke the fault logjam!

Hi Richard,
FWIW today I found I could get a cue on my head position from the bow wave. My head/breath position is best when I find myself looking at/into the side of it.

As you say, proprioception, swimming in water especially, is biased towards what we already feel we know. Generally I find that correcting something entails feeling it first to be wrong/uncomfortable so again this is stronger in water. With the backward breathing (which for me was also partly responsible for getting mouthfuls of water) I initially found it helpful to feel my head turn as looking a few degrees forward from the 90', as what felt like 90' clearly wasn't.
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  #19  
Old 08-05-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi all

By a happy coincidence today my daughter and I were joined at the pool by a friend of hers who has been in South Korea for some years and has just returned. She was a keen member of one of the local swimming clubs and I believe has some coaching qualifications, so I asked her to take a look at my head position while breathing.

After a couple of passes she pronounced that I don't lift my head but sometimes turn the head a bit too far, so that more than one goggle glass is out of the water.

I may get her to take another look on another occasion to check left side against right side.

I suppose there must be a slight bow wave, even at the speed I swim, and next time I'll try to see if I can see it. I was quite amused a couple of years ago to see what nice bow waves the ducks in the harbour here make. I wonder if I swim as fast as a duck.
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  #20  
Old 08-06-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Do you have webbed feet?

Sherry
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