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Old 11-02-2011
harling harling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 31
Default Bilateral breathing

I have been working on bilateral as well (for two years now) - managed 1500m recently - yeah! Still don't really like it, but it has helped me notice a few things, especially synchronising my kick with the correct arm. I have improved my swimming on my favourite side as well, when I go back to non-bilateral. My route:-

1. I needed to rotate more to my bad side or my mouth didn't get clear of the water (eventually I will need to work on not rotating too much).
2. I noticed I wasn't breathing properly, somehow not in sync with it, it felt rushed and "not right". SO I really focussed on i.e. consciously thought about, getting a good breath in on the poor side side (rather than the usual recommendation of focussing on the breath out), even if for the moment I am getting more of my face above water level than I should.
3. I swam really slow at first to try and analyse what was going wrong, and to give time to think about it. It also saved energy so I could carry on for longer.
4. Been swimming one armed - e.g. two or three with my right arm, then switching to the other side and doing one armed with my left arm. I focussed particularly on getting a good sense of going forward when I switched. One armed swimming especially made me realised I can breathe on both sides (and that I am at least as fast one armed as two).
5. Been doing (a very poor) "roll over drill" that Popov did (its on Youtube), which gives you practice breathing on both sides. It is quite nice doing this for a length at a time, getting the coordination is quite satisfying.
6. Swim on my bad side only for a few lengths - not always pleasant but always revealing.
7. Make 90% of my swimming in the pool bilateral or on the wrong side. Only swimming longer distances bilaterally to imprint it until I get it (mainly doing a few lengths only, or starting with 20 or 30 lengths then doing shorter distances).

Value? Why do it? "Because it is there". Mainly I have found focussing on these bilateral drills/thoughts really informative about my stroke, in ways I couldn't quite see with only breathing to my good side. Also I have been swimming in the Sea at Sandbanks and found being able to breathe only to one side a big problem when the waves came from the wrong direction (into my mouth!). I am still not "fast" but feeling reasonably pleased with progress. Next season I hope to be able to take it into the sea.

Good luck, from Poole in Dorset UK

Last edited by harling : 11-02-2011 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Wrong word, spelling, missing qualifier unit
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