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  #11  
Old 12-03-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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As one who went from breaststroke, in which breathing is really quite easy, whether one breathes out under the water or not, and sidestroke, which is equally easy, I never really had any difficulty breathing on my left side when swimming freestyle but breathing to the right is a completely different proposition. One would think that if it's easy on one side all one would have to do is replicate whatever one is doing on the easy side but that has not seemed to me to be the case so far.

However, the drill of going from superman glide to skate on the left side shows great promise as a way into right side breathing and recently the number of strokes where an easy breath is successfully taken on the right has increased.

I think there is a trap in the line of thinking " I can do it easily and therefore anyone can".
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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I agree, only no one here takes that line.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobarton View Post
I completely agree with you in concept. I strongly disagree with you in practice, however. Knowing that you can get your next breath easily adds to a level of relaxation. I've been experimenting with longer swims that have lower SPLs and have found that breathing (or, better, proper form when trying to breath) is the limiting factor. If I totally relax and pay attention to this relaxed state when trying to breath, my mouth gets to air. If I don't, I suck water. I was actually thinking some of the same thoughts as the OP as I was swimming today because it is very clear where the problem is coming in.
So, while I totally agree that excellent form gets a swimmer to air easily, most of us don't have that excellent form and can benefit from stroke thoughts that help us relax as we turn to the air. I benefitted from the coach's thoughts.
I think you're agreeing with me.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I agree, only no one here takes that line.
No but it seems to me that your insistence that all one has to do is swim with perfect balance and spear on wide tracks comes perilously close.

Some people learn complex movements best as wholes and others learn them best by integrating a series of simple movements. Generally speaking, I belong to the first group and accordingly spend most of my time in the pool swimming whole stroke, whether it be breaststroke, front crawl, back crawl or old English backstroke ( double arm recovery and inverted breaststroke kick). This works pretty well on the whole and I can cruise along thinking mainly of my feet for one length, mainly of my head position on another and so on.

This doesn't work very well for butterfly, however, and I have to compromise by swimming various substitutes for proper butterfly.

According to your line of thought, if I understand you correctly, my relative inability to breathe easily on my right side must indicate that there either a balance problem or a lack of symmetry in my stroke somewhere. I would tend to agree, but the question is how to cure it. First one has to actually diagnose the problem and then apply the cure. My line of thinking at the moment is that it is partly that I do not roll far enough to the right, which should be easy enough to cure, one would think, but also that I don't recover my right arm as neatly as my left, which of course may be related to the rolling.

Pushing off in Superman glide is a simple thing to do and and if I then take a single stroke to the right and end up in left skate position and at the same time turn my head very slightly to the right I find I can breathe quite easily. The next step is to recover the arm and return the head to the front. I usually continue swimming at this point, but I suspect that going back to the glide a few times would be more productive.

If you were teaching someone to swim, is that you would proceed?
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  #15  
Old 12-04-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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If you read what I wrote, it doesn't come 'perilously close' at all. With respect, precision is important in these discussions, both in writing and reading what others have read. My claim is that breathing is a relatively simple matter provided one does certain other things properly. From that it doesn't follow that I have claimed anything about how easy it is for me (or others) to swim well.

As to how I would teach others breathing, see my previous post. In short, I would focus on proper execution of the 'upstream' elements of the freestyle stroke from which, I contend, proper breathing flows as a natural consequence - in particular, full wide spearing and a hanging head.
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  #16  
Old 12-04-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Lawrence

My view is that breathing is easy for some and not for others. There is a big psychological component to breathing in freestyle and I do not see how anyone who had breathing difficulties could attain the ideal stroke you describe - a sort of chicken and egg situation.

First the imaginary learner has to learn to submerge the head, which many are very reluctant to do, and then learn to exhale under the water and breathe above the water to the side, or both sides, without lifting the head and also relax the neck muscles and roll the body while synchronizing kick and arm strokes.

I can conceive of teaching people to swim a few strokes without breathing at all as a preliminary stage, if you have a learner who is prepared to submerge the head, or just exhaling if the learner is confident enough, and this is something like the approach in the old TI method, where you did maybe one roll of the body and then rolled to sweet spot, where you could breathe easily, but I do not think you can reach a stage of being able to swim easily enough so that breathing is simply automatic without some work on the breathing itself.

But perhaps I misunderstand you.
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  #17  
Old 12-04-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Richard, the sort of learner you describe isn't a counterexample to what I have said. Such a learner would have to conquer his or her fear or water before starting to learn how to swim, whichever method of teaching stroke technique is in question. Having done that, the present question is how best he or she could be taught freestyle. My suggestion is to leave the breathing phase till last.
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  #18  
Old 12-04-2010
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Coach Suzanne thanks for the great post! I tried your focus points this morning and what a difference they made. It's one thing to think you might be lifting your head when you breathe -- it's another to know how to correct it. I've never swam faster or longer! This has taken my swimming to a new level. You are a true coach in my book.
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  #19  
Old 12-04-2010
al2eken al2eken is offline
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Coach Suzanne, another thank you for a great post. Along with the balance, streamline, and propel issues Terry mentioned that your drills help build, I believe there is room for an open identification of the trust and comfort issue. I know both of you speak to it, but just some word or phrase, or letter to add to B-S-P. As one who really is finding comfort and ease in the water after having several genuine near drowning experiences in my younger years, the gains in those areas that come from doing drills just like you present here are more important than ten years of arm stroke and kick practice. The mental side of overcoming the fears is a huge issue for some of us. Thank you.
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  #20  
Old 12-04-2010
terry terry is offline
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Breathing is no red herring. Nor is it a straw man or any other rhetorical fallacy. Rather, in swimming, it is a skill and one that is dependent on, but also distinct from, movement skills. In fact, I consider the ability to maintain an efficient stroke while breathing in crawl to be the most exacting of all swim skills.

What sets breathing apart from movement skills is that there is a profound psychological component to the ability, yea need, to get air that is not there with stroking skills.

One recent illustration of the distinction between breathing skills and the necessary movement skills - like balance and streamlining -- that facilitate it is the posts this week by two different swimmers of how liberating it was to learn, here on the Forum, that they should neither try to fill every bit of their lungs with air, nor expel every last molecule. Once they simply got and expelled 'enough' air they could swim much farther without fatigue. That has nothing to do with Balance, Streamlining, Wide Tracks or any other stroking skill. There's a lot to learn about the mechanics and timing of inspiration and expiration as well.
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Last edited by terry : 12-04-2010 at 09:01 PM.
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