freestyle breathing

freestyle breathing

Post by Michael G. Xakell » Fri, 07 Aug 1992 12:45:43


Recently we had a discussion in this newsgroup about freestyle breathing:
basically the pros of bilateral breathing and the cons of breathing
every other stoke (to the same side).

I'd like to reopen the discussion with the fact that I saw the 1500m
world record broken by the australian (I can't seem to remember his
name); he breathed every other stroke.  He did switch sides from time
to time, but typically he did not breathe bilaterally.

I'm a triathlete and 1500m is the distance I'll be swimming.  Is there
any way to reconcile the net's advice on bilateral breathing.  There
must be something very right about breathing every other stroke if the
swimmer broke a world record doing it.

My swimming time for the 1500m is 24:00 on a very good day (I now breathe
bilaterally when I swim).  I'd like advice, pearls of wisdom, or whatever
from those of you out there who know much more about this sport than I.  
I'd like to shave a couple of minutes off my time by next summer.

Mike Xakellis

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Suzanne Roat,Chevron,(5 » Tue, 11 Aug 1992 23:32:28

Bilateral breathing is recommended because it helps keep your stroke symetric - so you swim straight.  If you work on keeping the mechanics of your stroke correct, breathing every other stroke is not a problem.  And it lets you get more oxygen into your lungs.  A scheme of breathing 10-15 times on one side then alternating to 10-15 times on the
other works great if you can keep swimming in a straight line.  The key is comfort -
no sense going anaerobic bilateral breathing just because it may help you swim
faster.  Getting more oxygen to your muscles is more important.  Especially in
a triathlon - you don't need muscle cramps heading off on the bike after the swim.

As always, your mileage will vary.  Find what works best for you and stick with it.

---
Suzanne Roat                            Phone:  (510) 242-5313 Voice
Chevron Research and Technology Company         (510) 242-4647 FAX

Richmond, CA  94802-0627

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Steve Goldfie » Wed, 12 Aug 1992 01:42:24


#>Recently we had a discussion in this newsgroup about freestyle breathing:
#>basically the pros of bilateral breathing and the cons of breathing
#>every other stoke (to the same side).
#>
#>I'd like to reopen the discussion with the fact that I saw the 1500m
#>world record broken by the australian (I can't seem to remember his
#>name); he breathed every other stroke.  He did switch sides from time
#>to time, but typically he did not breathe bilaterally.
#>
#>I'm a triathlete and 1500m is the distance I'll be swimming.  Is there
#>any way to reconcile the net's advice on bilateral breathing.  There
#>must be something very right about breathing every other stroke if the
#>swimmer broke a world record doing it.
#>
#>My swimming time for the 1500m is 24:00 on a very good day (I now breathe
#>bilaterally when I swim).  I'd like advice, pearls of wisdom, or whatever
#>from those of you out there who know much more about this sport than I.  
#>I'd like to shave a couple of minutes off my time by next summer.
#>
#>Mike Xakellis

The point of alternate breathing is to even out your stroke.
If you breathe every stroke, you are always breathing on the
same side and your arm on the nonbreathing side tends to be
too low on recovery. However, if you breathe on every other
stroke, that should also tend to even out your stroke
since you at least have one complete stroke in which both
arms are doing essentially the same thing.

However, if you swim 24 minutes for the 1500 meters, I
seriously doubt that you will be able to swim the entire
race breathing every other stroke. I used to do closer to
20 minutes. When I was 18 or 20 and had a time under
20 minutes, I probably could have finished the race
breathing every other stroke, but at 20 minutes I couldn't
have done it. You have to take into account the kind of
conditioning the winner of the 1500 meters probably endures:
I'd guess he's swimming at least 20,000 meters a day.

Steve Goldfield

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by st901.. » Wed, 12 Aug 1992 04:43:57

Mike Xakellis wrote saying that he watched the Australian who broke the
record in the 1500, who breathed every other stroke.  By every other
stroke I assume you mean once every complete arm cycle (eg. every time the
right arm enters the water).  I saw this race also, which is why I am
assuming this.  

To answer your question, the reason why most of the distance swimmers breath
every arm cycle (or at least many do) is the same reason that many of them
hardly kick (usually a 1 beat kick).  To conserve oxygen.  A strong kick
uses up lots of oxygen and prevents it from getting to other muscles that
need it in a distance re
race.  

Bilateral breathing, the way that I understand it, does 2 things.  It does
straighten out an uneven stroke, most importantly.  It also causes you to
breath less.  When breathing less, you are able to increase your turnover
(the breathing part doesn't get in the way that way).  This is why you'll
see sprinters breathing 3 or less times in a 50.  So breathing less helps in
shorter distances, and in seeing all of your competition.

But, in a distance event, your turnover is much slower, so you don't get that
benefit anyway.  You need the distance out of your stroke and not so much a
great turnover.  In a distance event, it is also necessary to supply your
muscles with oxygen.  Thus, breathing as often as possible will help.  
Here, bilateral breathing is only going to help if you have a sloppy or
uneven stroke, and I don't think that is much of a problem for most
Olympians!

My question is this.  I saw that when the Australian switched breathing sides
(about once a length), he would breath twice in one arm cycle, left and
right.  I also saw a tape from the '88 Olympics (maybe '84, I'm not sure).
where a distance swimmer (not in the 1500, it was actually the 800 free relay
if memory serves) where a swimmer breathed twice EVERY arm cycle.  I believe
he had the fastest overall split but his relay lost to Biondi and the rest
of the Americans on that relay.  I may have some of the facts of the race
confused in my mind but I am sure of the breathing part.  
Wouldn't this be a lot of extra movement?  and a waste of energy?
Would it be difficult to keep your stroke together like that?
Was it Michael Gross? I can't remeber.
Thanks
Matt Goldberg

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Lee Casu » Fri, 14 Aug 1992 08:17:27

Hi Mike,
    I'm no expert; I'm just relating personal experience.  I find that
what I do in workout may or may not reflect what happens in a meet.
For example, on a sprint, I have defined a breathing pattern that I
will use in the event.  This breathing pattern is quite different from
my workout pattern.  In a meet I try to combine the best practices
tactic with what feels comfortable so that I can concentrate on the
race.  On a distance event (when I used to swim such beasts), I used
the pattern that I had developed during the workouts (that's 3 count
alternate breathing for me).  However, I did not make this a hard and
fast rule for the race.  If I was feeling lack of oxygen in the race,
I adjusted the breathing.  In distance I had the time to do this.
For any distance 200 or shorter, I use my workouts to help me develop
the most efficient breathing pattern for the race.  I then try to
apply that pattern during the taper portion of the season.

l\

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Sue Utter Hon » Sat, 15 Aug 1992 06:50:44

The discussion on bilateral breathing vs. breathing on the same side
every other stroke has made me wonder:  is there any correlation
between a swimmer's strongest side and the side s/he prefers to breath
on?  Just curious.

Sue Utter Honig

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Judge R » Sat, 15 Aug 1992 22:39:39


Quote:
>Hi Mike,
>    I'm no expert; I'm just relating personal experience.  I find that
>what I do in workout may or may not reflect what happens in a meet.

What happens is that when your body is under stress it reverts to an
experience which it is used to. Example: If you normally breathe every
stroke in training then when you're racing, breathing every 5th, and
you're trying to push yourself to go faster your body will revert to
breathing every stroke. Therefore you should practice as you intend
to race, perfect turns, correct breathing, etc.

Judge Raz


Donncha Redmond        |    o-o    |  Now can't have none of that
National Swim Team     |     ^     |  Tell her whatta say Mace
Ireland                |    `-'    |  Say no go         -- De La Soul

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Daavid Turnbu » Sat, 15 Aug 1992 22:52:32

Quote:

> Bilateral breathing is recommended because it helps keep your stroke symetric - so you swim straight.  If you work on keeping the mechanics of your stroke correct, breathing every other stroke is not a problem.  And it lets you get more oxygen into your lungs.  A scheme of breathing 10-15 times on one side then alternating to 10-15 times on the
> other works great if you can keep swimming in a straight line.  The key is comfort -

I have recently converted my freestyle stroke to bilateral breathing.  The
biggest problem that I find is that you end up with two ears full of water
as opposed to one!

--
        Daavid Turnbull

        uunet!munnari!bohra.cpg.oz!daavid
        CP Software Export Pty Ltd                   ACN 006 640 133

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Jason Stumm » Sat, 15 Aug 1992 08:20:57

Quote:

>Mike Xakellis wrote saying that he watched the Australian who broke the
>record in the 1500, who breathed every other stroke.  By every other

(stuff deleted here)

Quote:
>My question is this.  I saw that when the Australian switched breathing sides
>(about once a length), he would breath twice in one arm cycle, left and

(more stuff deleted here)

I figure if you guys are going to talk about him in this news group I might as well
give you a name to put to that magic world record swim - KIEREN PERKINS.
Remember it well! he already held the 1500m record before the Olympics and our guess
over here in Oz is that he will hold it for a long time to come.
--
Jason Stummer                                |"I believe that speed doesn't kill -
Canon Information Systems Research Australia |     it just hurts !"
PO Box 313 NORTH RYDE NSW 2113               |  REEBOK commercial.

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Joe Kitt » Wed, 19 Aug 1992 06:38:07

Quote:
>Hi Mike,
>    I'm no expert; I'm just relating personal experience.  I find that
>what I do in workout may or may not reflect what happens in a meet.
>For example, on a sprint, I have defined a breathing pattern that I
>will use in the event.  This breathing pattern is quite different from
>my workout pattern.  In a meet I try to combine the best practices
>tactic with what feels comfortable so that I can concentrate on the
>race.  On a distance event (when I used to swim such beasts), I used
>the pattern that I had developed during the workouts (that's 3 count
>alternate breathing for me).  However, I did not make this a hard and
>fast rule for the race.  If I was feeling lack of oxygen in the race,
>I adjusted the breathing.  In distance I had the time to do this.
>For any distance 200 or shorter, I use my workouts to help me develop
>the most efficient breathing pattern for the race.  I then try to
>apply that pattern during the taper portion of the season.

Ignore what this "Lee" character has to say ... :-)

Try various methods and do what you feel comfortable with and give you
the best times; use what works for you!

Joe Kittel
HP - Fort Collins, CO

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Lee Casu » Sat, 22 Aug 1992 01:28:09

Quote:
> Ignore what this "Lee" character has to say ... :-)

Sound advice.  We'll (you'll) be doing a bunch of 200 flys at the next
workout, sucker!

Quote:

> Try various methods and do what you feel comfortable with and give you
> the best times; use what works for you!

I hate to agree with Joe, but he's right.

l\

Quote:
> Joe Kittel
> HP - Fort Collins, CO

 
 
 

freestyle breathing

Post by Lee Casu » Sat, 22 Aug 1992 01:26:07

Quote:
> What happens is that when your body is under stress it reverts to an
> experience which it is used to. Example: If you normally breathe every
> stroke in training then when you're racing, breathing every 5th, and
> you're trying to push yourself to go faster your body will revert to
> breathing every stroke. Therefore you should practice as you intend
> to race, perfect turns, correct breathing, etc.

That's not exactly what I had in mind.  Your example is quite accurate,
though.  If you try to drastically change your breathing style, from
practice to meet, you'll be in trouble.  What I had in mind was that
I train using 3 count (all of every workout) breathing, except at taper
time.  At that point I start incrementing up to 5, 7, and 9 count
breathing.  My body has built up a "lack of oxygen" tolerance to allow me
to increase slightly the amount I don't breathe.  My example for a 100 M
free would be to breathe 5 count for the first 50, and revert back to 3
count for the second 50 (at altitude).  At sea level, I've been successful
with 7 counting the first 50 and 5 counting the second.  This can be done
because I'm fresh for the event.

l\

Quote:
> Judge Raz


> Donncha Redmond        |    o-o    |  Now can't have none of that
> National Swim Team     |     ^     |  Tell her whatta say Mace
> Ireland                   |    `-'    |  Say no go         -- De La Soul