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Old 07-21-2017
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First thanks for your answer :)
Originally Posted by dshen View Post
Lots of value in learning the other 4 strokes. They can be easier to learn IMHO than freestyle.
I actually think the same :) It is just a lot more forgiving than say butterfly.
If I may comment like this - I would not follow what elites are doing in swimming as a template for your learning. Elites often have deficiencies in classic swim form - that doesn't mean they aren't super fast, but it does mean that even their swimming could improve from their already fast state, or perhaps it doesn't matter as whatever they are doing works for them.
I agree that they have their style, I'm not sure we can call that deficiency, and that it is not necessarily the best example for beginner, though it can be practical to point at known athlete that impersonate a given style pretty well. The Manaudou/Spiegler generation of athletes were swimming a more "classic/canon" type of freestyle than the athletes that came after and beat their performances.

Breathing is often an issue with swimmers; what a pain to need to take a breath in the middle of what was nice stroking and now interrupted! I would encourage you to make sure your basics are down in the areas of balance, streamlining, and propulsion first without taking a breath (standing up of course when you need to take one), and then work on breathing. There are sections on breathing in our Ultra Efficient Freestyle ebook and in Freestyle Mastery ebook. I would encourage you to give those a try and see if they help.
Thanks for the recommendation. I will indeed do drills but there is something weird while "kayaking" breathing on both sides comes easy, it is like it "makes sense" within the logic of the stroke with a breath every three strokes pattern.

Now I wonder wonder if freestyle is a symmetric stroke, after some research it seems that I'm not alone in fact though it does not seem as if the "last word" on the matter is out already. I may come back to your first answer, indeed Freestyle is more complicated than others strokes, so much parameters to fine tune and work around. I get interesting when compared to backstroke why are there so many approaches in freestyle from casual to competitive athletes while backstroke is more of a known quantity.
I believe the answer is breathing and the pattern at which it needs to occurs for most people (casuals and athletes). From people at the pool to athletes and on most distances (short sprint aside) almost every body breathes once every two strokes. A consequence is that people tends to strongly favor swimming on one side and doing so their techniques and movement definitely adapt. We know from elites swimmers that that asymmetric approach to the stroke is faster (and most likely more efficient) on any distance but short sprints during which breathing has a lesser impact.

Speaking for myself, I favor the symmetry from an aesthetic pov but also wrt to health/training as asymmetric workloads comes with their load of issues but I feel like I'm not breathing enough. On the biomechanical level we have a strong arm and a weak one (that does some things better nonetheless), a kicking leg and a jumping one. It is a fundamental issue, breathing comes first in the long run, may be freestyle is a different animal than the others strokes, like a galloping horse, whereas "classic" front crawl is in fact some form of ventral backstroke lol :)
May be the breathing pattern set us up to us the best of the distinct abilities of ours four limbs?
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