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  #11  
Old 11-07-2015
dougalt dougalt is offline
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Terry and AndyInNorway: Thanks for the thoughts about breathing on the "weak" side. I've also been avoiding, avoiding, avoiding... but you've kick-started me to start working on this. Lack of left-side breathing ability has been hindering me lately in ocean swimming; I've been limited in my swim route choices by the direction of the wind, chop and waves. More versatility is needed here....
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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@Chris and others: my most embarrassing moment was being caught at the wheel of my car, while stopped in traffic, practicing my breathing drill -- neck rotation and Popeye mouth. Lucky no-one called the police.

I also had "impossible to breath on my bad side". Learning to breath on the bad side was a very profitable enterprise. I still am not fluid on my bad (left) side, and when I get tired I become progressively reluctant to breath to the left. Nevertheless, now my unthinking default mode is bilateral breathing during all practice (once every 3 strokes). I still have not got to practicing exclusively on the left side, because I find it gets really difficult even after 1 length, but some day I'll have to get down to it.

Interestingly, regarding your comment that you think you sink while breathing on your bad side, that's what I though was happening to me. However, on closer analysis, what was actually happening was that on my good side, over the years I had developed the habit of bobbing up on that side, and catching my breath on the apex of the bob. It was subtle, and because i was so comfortable with it, I didn't notice. On my bad side, because I was starting from scratch, I didn't develop any bad habit of incorporating a downward push component of my arm stroke. Consequently, I notice that my head trajectory on the left side is a very flat curve, if it is curved at all. The water is moving horizontally past my mouth as I breathe. I wasn't sinking at all, only it felt uncomfortable. On my good right side, even though I have tried to eliminate the pushing down component, I still have a residual slight bob, which I am still working on.

I still breathe higher on the good right side which I'm very comfortable with. My left side breathing is still only half-mouth out, which is a good thing in theory, I guess; what is a little puzzling is that, if I am so uncomfortable in that situation, why am I not rolling a little more, so as to get another half inch more of surface clearance? I must be having difficulty with ease of rotation on the left, I guess. Hmm, I never stopped to work that out before.
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Quote:
@Chris and others: my most embarrassing moment was being caught at the wheel of my car, while stopped in traffic, practicing my breathing drill -- neck rotation and Popeye mouth
Had a good laugh imagining the scene Sclim. Must have looked ridiculous for non swimmers.

I have the same, that breathing on the bad side is actually better technically. Getting a bit of forward speed is the easiest way of getting a good breath without overrotation of neck or body.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 11-14-2015 at 07:28 AM.
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  #14  
Old 11-15-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
I have the same, that breathing on the bad side is actually better technically. Getting a bit of forward speed is the easiest way of getting a good breath without overrotation of neck or body.
This is an ongoing puzzle for me. Uncomfortable left side breathing appears to be better technically in that the half-mouth on water trajectory appears to be amazingly flat and controlled, I seem to be getting the same forward velocity on the left as the right (so the lack of speed does not seem to be the specific problem), but I still sort of dread the left breath, and it tires me out more. Don't know why. I have a vague idea that my left rotation is clumsy and less controlled, likely more inefficient, and using more energy, so difficult to get that extra half inch of clearance for a more secure breath (there is a higher percentage of partial and occasionally serious water ingestion during the left breathing).

I may have to bite the bullet and work out some sort of drill that isolates the left breathing combination of actions and try to isolate exactly where my problem lies. Too many problems shouting out to be smoothed out!
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  #15  
Old 11-15-2015
Chris
 
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I've been working on bilateral breathing all week.

I found that I was, as @sclim suggested, using a downward movement of my stroke arm to lift my head clear of the water. Not every time, just often enough to disrupt my stroke pattern and put the brakes on forward movement.

It has been a productive week. I'm now consistently breathing to both sides. Surprisingly what was my weak side is now my better side with a shallower, easier movement to air. Movement to my original strong side is more pronounced, I feel my head faces a little further forward and lifts more as I breathe.

I'm also taking smaller breaths, which means I 'm not working as hard to breathe. I find that on occasion I'm moving to air on stroke four instead of three because I forgot to breathe at three. I need to work on rhythm so breathing on three becomes second nature.

Whilst my breathing has improved, my stroke has got messy. Concentrating on moving to air has resulted in a very wayward course through the water. My stroke is not as clean as it was when I used the snorkel and concentrated on smooth movement.

Forward movement is a lot smoother than I hoped for when I started to learn this stroke, even if direction has become a little erratic. At least it is when I first get in the pool. I usually notice a reduction in efficiency in movement before I feel tired.

Next target is to work on lead hand entry and positioning in the water. If my body can remember how to breath whilst I focus on shape and extension then I should track a much straighter course.

I need to pick up a tempo trainer to help automate movement. Unfortunately I am working in Italy for the next month and can't find a stockist over here. I've been trying to use my breathing pattern as a metronome with some success, but have also found that fitness/energy levels and a reduction in technique when tired throw it out of balance.
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  #16  
Old 11-15-2015
truwani truwani is offline
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Fully agree one should be able to breath left as well as right

But please make a distinction with breathing every odd numbrr of strokes, for example every three strokes. I think this is even a LOT more challenging, because on top you get to breath less frequently.

So beginners go for being able to breath on each side, once you really master this go to breathing with frequencies lower than every two strokes
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  #17  
Old 11-16-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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@Chris: Congratulations on your progress which includes some subtle deductions and corresponding adjustments!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris View Post
I need to pick up a tempo trainer to help automate movement. Unfortunately I am working in Italy for the next month and can't find a stockist over here. I've been trying to use my breathing pattern as a metronome with some success, but have also found that fitness/energy levels and a reduction in technique when tired throw it out of balance.
This reminds me of an unexpected finding that I had almost forgotten about, which you may find relevant. Early in my struggle with bilateral breathing I was trying to learn to use the Tempo Trainer. I was trying to establish a very precise moment in my stroke cycle to synch with the beep, and I was able to identify several candidates which I could use very consistently as a time marker.

However, no matter whatever set-point I selected, I seemed to drift in and out of synch which initially puzzled me until I realised that the set point immediately following my right side breath (let's say I would be using the moment of full forward spear) always occurred a split second before it was supposed to, i.e. just before the beep, whereas for all the other 5 strokes in the 6 stroke cycle that set point occurred exactly on time.

It turns out the explanation was that I was rushing the right breath and stroke, which seemed counter-inutitive, initially -- after all, the bobbing upwards trajectory of my head and mouth would be expected to have taken longer than a non-breathing stroke, I would have thought. Turns out I was wrong, and I was somehow incorporating a rushed movement during the right breath, in combination with all the other things that were wrong and forced with that right breathing stroke. Funny, but my learned-from-scratch left side breathing, awkward though it has always felt, has not suffered from any timing aberrations to speak of.

Anyway, I have consequently completely fixed the timing thing on my right side breathing, and have flattened out the bobbing trajectory to a great extent, but there is still a slight bob that I can detect if I take care to observe closely, and I notice that I still habitually bring my mouth higher above the water surface on the right than necessary.

Last edited by sclim : 11-16-2015 at 01:30 AM.
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