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Old 05-05-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Near Basingstoke, England.
Posts: 137

Assuming we're talking purely about longer distance swimming (100m+), billateral breathing is my preferred breathing pattern. However, my [very good] TI coach tells me that breathing every stroke cycle to one side only (i.e. every time the left arm recovers, you breathe; then swap after a length to the right etc) is the best way to swim. Apparently it's been scientifically proven that the advantages of more regular intake of air outweight the disadvantages of breaking one's streamlining slightly. In addition, when one breathes to a 'new' side, the head is inclined to lift higher, whereas after two or three breaths to one side you become better at it (short term muscle memory).

Can anyone comment on either of these points? Terry often says in his videos that with swimming often the best thing to do doesn't feel natural at first, and it instead it takes hard work to achieve. Billateral is natural to me, but what I prefer as a novice is of no interest to me - I want to do the best thing. I trust my coach, obviously, so will do what she says, but in the meantime I'd be interested in people's comments on the two things I've mentioned above.
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Old 05-19-2011
mcborowski mcborowski is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1

Count me among the converts to bilateral breathing. I've been reconstructing my stroke since December 2010 using the Triathlon Swimming Made Easy book and had been breathing every fourth stroke for months. As I progressed in distance and speed on my intervals, that feeling of breathlessness and need to stop increased much to my frustration.

Yesterday, I had a 1000m time trial as part of my regular training and was very nervous about what my number would be. I warmed up with bilateral breathing and, reasoning that I would stuggle to make the full distance at a 4stroke breathing rate, decided to give it a go.

I had an awesome swim and was very surprised at my time. Much better than I anticipated. This gives me much needed confidence heading into some upcoming Olympic distance races and was hopefully a breakthrough swim!
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Old 08-10-2011
mikeleegang mikeleegang is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 10

Originally Posted by Alex-SG View Post
At this stage I think the key issue is slow SR (=2sec) but I am sure the other points highlighted by CoachSusanne are also part of the problem.
Rather than focusing on breathing 100%, I will probably continue the DRILL+SWIM sets while trying to accelerate my stroke rate (->1.7 ->1.5).
The breathing may improve as I get air more frequently.
Having said that, there are a few of us on this forum who swim at low SR and of course face some problems such as lack of constant speed -> little bow wave effect -> forced to lift the head to breath.
I wonder if an experienced TI swimmer/coach is able to maintain a good stroke (technique wise + breathing wise) at SR=1.9/2. Or is it really too slow event for the best? ALEX
Hi Alex,
How are you doing now? Is the one mile goal reached?
In my understanding of Terry's articles of breathing and my practice according to, breath technique shall be the foundation skill of swimming and shall be the one we always practice and improve in the pool.
If you are just starting to swim (say, in less than 6 months), then I would suggest to focus on breath techniques, rather than mixing with SR. I would suggest you to ask yourself several questions:
1)Can I control the bubbling flexibly? (When you stand in the pool, put your face just underwater, and start bubbling. Can you make a freestyle breathing at any rate you want? )
2)Can I breath on both sides? (not in freestyle swimming, just breathing practice as described in question 1)
3)Am I conscious of both stroking and breathing when I am in freestyle swimming? (Just like when dancing, are you conscious of both your feet and your hands?)

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Old 08-12-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Dubai
Posts: 415

Hello Mike,

No, still struggling. But to be honest I am not working on the breathing yet.

Somehow I am satisfied with my Technique but my stroke rate is still on the slow side. The plan is still to progressively increase the STROKE RATE until I am able to swim comfortably at SR=1.3-1.4 (Shinji's comfort pace) and after that SR=1.1 (probably faster pace used by Terry in competitions).

I agree with you that breathing is an important component however at this stage I feel swimming Free Style at a slow rate is not really swimming !

I feel this should be relatively easy to do. I am now comfortable at SR=1.5 (coming from 1.7 that is good). Immediately after I will switch to BREATHING.

In fact I will share a possible breakthrough in another post (since this one is about "Breathing every 2 VS Breathing every 3"). ALEX
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