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Old 07-08-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,380

This is an interesting thread - aren't they all, actually?

I am an inveterate left side breather, although if I really concentrate I can breathe to the right. I have never made a serious attempt to breathe in the classic bilateral pattern, which I think can wait until I sort out more fundamental aspects of my swimming.

Breathing on the left and swimming very slowly, I can breathe every two, every four and even sometimes every eight. I just blow bubbles until all the air is gone and then breathe. I think only every two is possible on the right side. I suspect that my head is always slightly turned to the left, which makes left side breathing easy. I also suspect that I do not roll enough to the right side, although I consciously try to do so. I also try very hard to keep my head central and not tilted. When I try to swim fast ( or less slowly to be more accurate) I always breathe every two to the left. I find this odd because I am right handed and one would think that the stronger sweep with the right hand would help to roll the body. Maybe one leg is also weaker than the other ( I think it always is - or at least one leg is always dominant). Footballers (Soccer and Rugby players) usually have a "good" leg to kick with, although some can kick very well with either foot and at a high level everyone is expected to be able to do so. Perhaps something similar applies to swimmers as the kick is an element in the body roll.

I don't know how common these asymmetries of the freestyle stroke are, but I suspect that they are very common. At the elite level most male swimmers breathe to one side, although I'm sure they work on the other side in training. Female elite swimmers seem to be more inclined to use the classical bilateral technique. I wonder why?
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Old 07-08-2010
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 589
Default hello Richard

Breathin' and Crawlin' & swivelin the head!
Backstrokin' should be easy then?
I'm going to the pool and See If I can just Swim when I get in thnk i try

Backstrokin to
Sidestrokin to
Crawlin & not try to do my natural

Breaststrokin which is the natural and best imprinted one (for me!)

and see if I can not chat to the men i see!
can i do it?
we 'll SEE?

most of 'em
don't what to chat about their
swimming technique?

I know Richard can certainly out chat me!

When your swimming and when you are

Last edited by splashingpat : 07-08-2010 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 11-20-2010
vol vol is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 175

I have a question about breathing. Let's say you breathe every x strokes (x=2, 3 or 4...). So at the end of the xth stroke, you have exhaled all the air, right? and you are ready to breathe in air. Now if you are swimming in, say, open water, with tides etc., suppose at this moment a big wave came that disrupted the surrounding water, so you couldn't immediately breathe in air as you prepared to. Then wouldn't you be "breathing" in water, and risk drowning?
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Old 11-20-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 564


This last summer was my first time at swimming OW and I fell in love with it. I am still very much a novice and found there is a learning curve to breathing in OW depending on the conditions and your comfort zone. Many little tricks like side vs wave action, timing, feel are some I need to work on. The short answer is you most likely will take on more water in OW. Just like the commercial Try it you'll like it.

Be Well and Swim Silent
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Old 11-20-2010
vol vol is offline
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Posts: 175

Thanks, Westy. Your experience is consistent with my guess that breathing must be much more of a challenge in OW. In a pool, I found that if I swim balanced, then breathing will come its way without much effort. In OW, there are many unexpected happenings that can disrupt your strokes and breathing timing. If you are out of breath and can't get out of surface in time, there is no lane line to hold on!
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Old 03-26-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Dubai
Posts: 415
Default Inhale-EXHALE vs Inhale-Exhale-Exhale

How different are the 2 breathing patterns?

Somehow I feel I will soon master the "every 2" as it is a simple INHALE-EXHALE.

But the "every 3" is more of a INHALE, EXHALE, EXHALE.

a. Is the INHALE part the same for both (basically the same quantity of air)?
b. Is the EXHALE part a slower Exhale, or does one hold the air in the first EXHALE and then blow everything out at the 2nd?
c. Is the breathing pattern with the long EXHALE more difficult to learn?

Strange questions.... I know.... Thanks for your insights. ALEX
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Old 03-27-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Francisco, USA
Posts: 169


In your every 3 example, are you stopping and then restarting the exhale, or just exhaling twice as long?

If you're stopping and restarting (i.e., holding your breath at some point), then that tension is likely a contributing factor.

I get more air each time when I breathe every 2, partly because I'm more relaxed about getting air! So when I go to breathe I'm not running out of air and don't tense my neck and close up my throat.

I prefer breathing every 3 (I like the rhythm) but can't always sustain it. My SR is slow, and I often run out of breath after a relatively short distance. I really dislike breathing every 2. I think it's because I don't yet have very good, consistent form -- I can "reset" my position more easily when I breathe every 3.

During one practice recently I found the bow wave and felt so comfortable breathing every 3 I couldn't believe it. I was keeping my head in line and breathing with half my mouth still in the water. Felt like I could swim many laps this way. I was more relaxed than I usually am.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep this form for more than a 25m length. But it gave me a glimpse of how it feels. I was traveling a bit faster than usual but not because of more effort. My position in the water and stroke rhythm were better. This came toward the end of a focused practice put together by Coach Brian.
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Old 04-14-2011
sh50 sh50 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 3

In this post as it has been suggested that "I swim different strokes and breathe when I need the breath without a fixed breathing rate". It is a well known fact that one has to try and exhale fully before inhaling. Should there be any fixation about inhaling through the nose or mouth? Terry has suggested in another post that inhaling through the nose leads to some kind of meditativeness and relaxation. When I do three strokes(Freestyle), it feels more comfortable exhaling only through the nose but when I do two strokes(every stroke in Freestyle), I am able to exhale fully only if I do both nose and mouth. Isn't this important for maintaining the right rhythm. ? This nose v/s mouth business while exhaling is a perpetual controversy.

Last edited by sh50 : 04-14-2011 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011
terry terry is offline
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Originally Posted by sh50 View Post
This nose v/s mouth business while exhaling is a perpetual controversy.
Perhaps I can help resolve.I exhale with nose bubbles only when I'm swimming with my greatest level of ease and relaxation. I maximize ease when warming/tuning up and when trying to swim with Shinji-like grace. These call upon great focus as well as great ease.

Nose breathing is a good device for encouraging both.

Once I establish what I feel is a good imprint I may try to stretch a bit on distance or pace. At some point it will become necessary to also exhale from my mouth. I just try to progressively push back that point.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 04-14-2011
borate borate is offline
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Originally Posted by sh50 View Post
It is a well known fact that one has to try and exhale fully before inhaling...This nose v/s mouth business while exhaling is a perpetual controversy.
You may be fixating unnecessarily; I've not seen definitive statements that it is necessary to exhale fully. Nor that there is a preference for either mouth or nose breathing. Perhaps I missed something...

Try inhaling in a quick bite just as recovery begins. Exhale through both mouth and nose until the next breath - with no attempt to force air out.
In other words: a natural rhythm. Need more air? Take additional breaths.
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