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Old 06-08-2010
Janos Janos is offline
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Janos
Default Both sides now.

Hi all,

I am starting a thread to see if there is any correlation between problems with the symmetry in your stroke, and which hand you favour as your first stroke when you start to swim.
In the pool I have been watching other swimmers, and whether it was the left hand or the right hand they started with, it never varied from length to length. I was the same until recently, and then I started different variations on each length, to try and discern the subtle differences in feel. My observations are that I am definitely slightly lower in the water when I start stroking with my left hand first. I am wondering whether this has any relevance with breathing on my left. I do favour the right side, given a choice, and this must affect the symmetry and feel of my stroke.
I started doing continuous laps of left side only breathing, and starting on each turn with a left handed stroke, until I lost any sensation of sinking slightly on the turn, then returned to bi-lateral. The improvement in symmetry is very noticeable.
In the gym I tried to find an exercise whereby I could detect this favouring of the right, and perhaps discern a weakness in the left side of my body.
I found that by doing the 'plank' exercise, and then raising one arm and its opposite leg, that I could do the movement easily with my right arm and left leg, but had to concentrate more when doing it with my left arm and right leg. As a right handed person, I do things with my right arm without any conscious effort of thought. The catch arm moving backwards and my head turning right during swimming seems completely natural, but less so on my left,which requires more concentration and effort, which must add drag.
The balance in effort for both sides since I have been working on this has added new smoothness to my stroke, and increased power.
Are there any left handed swimmers, who lead with their left arms and who have to work on their right sided breath? it would be interesting to hear your observations. Also, from anybody who feels its relevant to their swimming experience.

Kind Regards

Janos
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Old 06-09-2010
Ken B Ken B is offline
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Ken B
Default Gauche

I shall follow this thread with extra interest because I have been breathing to the right for 60 years and one of my goals for this winter in the pool is to breath easily to the left. I can do it in the pool but in open water I soon get out of time and backslide to the right. I have no trouble holding course breathing unilaterally and often swim 50 strokes before checking but some sea conditions make breathing tricky.
What finally convinced me that I had to make the effort was a swim in the estuary this autumn. I arrived at the water and realised I'd left my yellow cap and smoked goggles elsewhere. I swam anyway but on the way back the low midday sun was full face. I had a bright golden globe in my eyes for the rest of the afternoon.

Ken
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2010
Janos Janos is offline
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Hi Ken,

Are you right handed?, and do you favour your right arm as your first stroke when swimming?
It seems odd that you can't replicate your pool stroke in open water. Especially as you are very experienced in open water swimming. I think that is a whole new topic though!

Janos
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Old 06-10-2010
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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hello janos, interesting points.

I'm right handed, favour my right hand as my first stroke but my 'natural' breathing side is left.
I can definetely feel the asymmetry in my stroke and I'm trying to improve it too.
Most of my improvements have come after increasingly long bilateral sessions.
With a few sessions at the pool I can now easily swim 30 minutes bilateral no stop.
My stroke remain asymmetrical, but less so and bilateral breathing gives me more time 'head down', though making my swim action flow much more fluidly.

incidentally before TI I had never had this kind of success at bilateral breathing in my 30+ years swimminng career ( i cant recall a time in my life when i wasn't able to swim!)
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Old 06-10-2010
Caro Caro is offline
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Caro
Default Me too

I am right-handed and always used to just breathe to the right.
Now with bilateral breathing I always start with the right arm and I
also hate hitting the wall with my left hand so will cut the stroke short
to avoid it. I am trying to change this.

In open water am much more inclined to breathe to one side only,
preferably the right but to the left to avoid the sun or see the bank etc. it is
much harder and less natural to the left.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2010
terry terry is offline
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Janos
Great experiment. Shortly after I began a concentrated effort to become as comfortable with right-side breathing as with left, I followed up with a focus on starting odd lengths with right-hand stroke and evens with left-hand. I found it revelatory and beneficial.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #7  
Old 06-12-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
In the gym I tried to find an exercise whereby I could detect this favouring of the right, and perhaps discern a weakness in the left side of my body.
I found that by doing the 'plank' exercise, and then raising one arm and its opposite leg, that I could do the movement easily with my right arm and left leg, but had to concentrate more when doing it with my left arm and right leg.
Janos
Your reference to the plank position with one hand and opposite leg raised got my attention. We did this exercise in a vinyasa flow class yesterday morning. I'm much more stable with left arm and right leg raised. When swimming freestyle I'm noticeably more balanced when spearing left arm and driving right leg.
Not sure if it's significant but I suspect there's a connection.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2010
Janos Janos is offline
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Terry,
Through this thread,I am trying to establish whether there is a connection between underlying physiological weakness and flexibility and its effect on learning to swim in the TI way.Whilst doing everyday things we build up strength and flexibility on our 'good' side without really noticing, until we either get an injury through muscle imbalance or we try to learn a new skill, like TI!..and find we have a 'chocolate' and a 'vanilla' side! To save hours of frustration in the pool, can the learning process be speeded up by using a swim specific gym or exercise regime? is there a minimal degree of flexibility and fitness that must be achieved to allow us to be 'fit' enough to start to learn, or achieve the smoothest possible stroke?
i.e if we use neck flexibility in the context of breathing in freestyle. Most people only have a bare 180 degrees of movement from side to side, and when at full extension, never really exert themselves in that position. Yet when they are swimming, the neck goes through ninety degrees of movement or more, and the swimmer then needs to take a hurried breath whilst moving horizontally through the water.
I was wondering if through everyday activities, do we develop a more flexible, readily used side, and erode our spatial awareness and physical capabilities on the other. Which then need to be strengthened and retrained, by other means than swimming, to achieve full balance?do you think there is a need for a specific dryland TI routine, to shorten learning times, solve breathing issues and increase power?

Janos

Last edited by Janos : 06-13-2010 at 06:28 PM. Reason: waffling
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