Freestyle Breathing

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Jean-Paul Y. Li » Mon, 06 Jul 1992 03:46:23


It's probably a good idea to learn to breathe on both sides. If you
watch swimmers carefully, when they breathe, they will slow down. Hence,
the less you breathe you will not slow yourself down as much. Why do you
think the sprint freestylers breathe as least as possible? Matt Biondi
and Tom Jager (as I'm sure many more) don't breathe at all during a 50.,

A good way to learn how to breathe on your weak side is to always
breathe on that weak side. I swallowed plenty of water when I learned
how to breathe on my weak side. My coach would never let breathe on the
strong side until I could do it as well on the weak side. This way when
you start going into the every three breathing pattern it's easy as pie.
I'm not saying that this is the best way to learn how to breathe on the
weak side, but it works for me. Experiment a little bit with it, but
remember to never force it. Expended energy breathing makes your finish
that much slower.

- J.P.


CLASS Aquatics  Calabasas, California

"Keep stroking and it will come..."

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by michael g xakell » Mon, 06 Jul 1992 04:38:02


Quote:
>It's probably a good idea to learn to breathe on both sides. If you
>watch swimmers carefully, when they breathe, they will slow down. Hence,
>the less you breathe you will not slow yourself down as much. Why do you
>think the sprint freestylers breathe as least as possible? Matt Biondi
>and Tom Jager (as I'm sure many more) don't breathe at all during a 50.,

How about for long distance swimming?  I feel like I get starved
for oxygen when I breathe both sides (every 3 strokes).  It seems
like I have a higher power output (and can  swim faster) when I
breathe more often, even though I have the extra overhead of
disrupting my stroke more often.

My technical knowledge of swimming is weak, do I have a point?
Or do I need to work on my stroke?

Mike Xakellis

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by S Smi » Mon, 06 Jul 1992 08:16:11

Quote:
>How about for long distance swimming?  I feel like I get starved
>for oxygen when I breathe both sides (every 3 strokes).  It seems
>like I have a higher power output (and can  swim faster) when I
>breathe more often, even though I have the extra overhead of
>disrupting my stroke more often.

You may have to improve your aerobic fitness to overcome the starvation of
oxygen.  Send me your email address and I'll post something over to you which
may help.

Cheers.
Scott Smith
Australia.

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Kare » Mon, 06 Jul 1992 10:12:01


Quote:
>>How about for long distance swimming?  I feel like I get starved
>>for oxygen when I breathe both sides (every 3 strokes).  It seems
>>like I have a higher power output (and can  swim faster) when I
>>breathe more often, even though I have the extra overhead of
>>disrupting my stroke more often.
>You may have to improve your aerobic fitness to overcome the starvation of
>oxygen.  Send me your email address and I'll post something over to you which
>may help.

Indeed.  You might try breathing every five for awhile when you are
not pushing it.  This has the addded advantage of inproving anaerobic
fitness, and that's a big thing in swimming.  Pretty no matter what
you are doing when you are swimming, you are going to be experiencing
some swimming anaerobically.  The more fit for that you are, the
better off you will be we swimming hard.  This kind of fitness is best
for sprinters as it's not something that lasts long (sooner or later
you have to have air).  But if you swim every five in practice, switch
to every three when you really want to go quick.

But air intake aside, there is a more appropriate reason for why you
should breathe every other stroke.  And that is in making sure you
balance arm power.  When you breathe you mess up your regular stroke
pattern.  This isn't so bad but you do it thousands of times when you
practice.  Now if you breathe on both sides, you mess up your stroke
on both sides.  No problem. If you breathe on only ONE side tho, you
are constantly messing up only one side, and when you do that, you
wind up unbalancing your arm strength, and possibly seriously messing
up your stroke too, making it less efficient.

I should know, being a single side breather for all of my career, I've
got a seriously messed up stroke.  When I was young and hadn't swum
much I had a really good stroke, but as I got older and more practice
on only one side, my stroke got messed up some. I could never convert
over to the both side breathing.  I was just too ingrained in
breathing on one side, and I didn't have the lung power to breathe
every other stroke.  I'd just run out of breath.  Not cool.

So anyways, the point of this is breathing every other side is much
better for you.  If you have a problem with running out of air, well,
just practice.  It'll get easier.  Hopefully tho you folks don't have
10yrs of competitive swimming under you making it difficult to change.

-k

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Mike Fishm » Thu, 09 Jul 1992 01:30:42

In this discussion, no one has mentioned the competivive advantage of breathing
on both sides.. IT gives you a chance to see what your opponents are doing.

I used to try "changing sides" every once in a while to look over at the other
lanes. I found I lost speed on my right side, so I switched less often..
sometimes just for one stroke..

But then my timing got thrown off (and I tended not to remember to breath on
that one turn..***).. Now I can breathe either way for laps on end.. BUT,
every 3rd is still a very anaerobic affair :-)

Just my very wet $.02....

                                        Mike Fishman
                (Part-time Engineer, full-time fisherman and daily lap swimmer)

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by glen dien » Thu, 09 Jul 1992 07:37:32

A week ago, I worked as a timer at the "Santa Clara International
Swim Meet"...a major international meet, with many international
and world record holders competing.  I made a point of watching the
breathing patterns of the distance freestylers during
the finals of the 400 free.

There was a lot of variation, but the most common pattern was to
breath every complete armstroke, with the occasional addition of a
breath after 1 1/2 complete armstrokes, moving the breath
over to the other side.  This resulted in breathing patterns such as
5 on the right, 3 on the left, 7 on right, and so on....
I didn't see anyone breathing in a consistent pattern
of every 3rd half-armcycle.

Of course, this is far from an objective study...I couldn't
see all the swimmers, and am recalling this from memory.
My conclusion, however,  was that most world-class distance
freestylers breath with every stroke, occasionally
switching breathing to the opposite side for a
few breaths (To check out the competition on that side of
the pool? To keep the stroke in balance?), then switching back.

-glen diener

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Cathy Smi » Thu, 09 Jul 1992 13:48:56


Quote:
>A week ago, I worked as a timer at the "Santa Clara International
>Swim Meet"...a major international meet, with many international
>and world record holders competing.  I made a point of watching the
>breathing patterns of the distance freestylers during
>the finals of the 400 free.

......
>My conclusion, however,  was that most world-class distance
>freestylers breath with every stroke, occasionally
>switching breathing to the opposite side for a
>few breaths (To check out the competition on that side of
>the pool? To keep the stroke in balance?), then switching back.

>-glen diener


From my own experience and from what I have seen at swim meets,
swimmers often swim quite differently during a race than during
practice.  Swimmers will do alternate breathing during practice but
will do what's more comfortable for them during the race

Cathy Smith

--

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Bruce Chen » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 06:07:29

Holding your breath can help your speed.  Here's how: If I
take breath and then exhale continuously, I am continuously
losing buoyancy; i.e. I'm sinking.  When lower in the water
I am slower because I have to push more water in front of
me.  
If I hold my breath and then exhale all of it just before
I breath again, my average buoyancy is increased. I'm not
addressing how many breaths per stroke (or the inverse), just
what you do within a cycle.

By the way, since we have beat laps vs lengths to death, how
about discussing what consititutes "one stroke?"  My coach said
to take at least three strokes out of a turn before I breath.
Our team has discussed just exactly what that means for weeks
(in between sets, of course).

Bruce Cheney

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Chuck Amsle » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 01:13:31


(michael g xakellis) says:

Quote:
>How about for long distance swimming?  I feel like I get starved
>for oxygen when I breathe both sides (every 3 strokes).  It seems
>like I have a higher power output (and can  swim faster) when I
>breathe more often, even though I have the extra overhead of
>disrupting my stroke more often.

     I started breathing on both sides in 1972 or '73 and must admit that
I'm uncomfortable *not* doing it.  My normal workout starts with (and is
limited to 1/2 the time) a "hard" 3000.  I feel good all the way through
breathing two times on one side and then switching sides for two breaths,
etc.  I'm fairly sure that I'd have trouble alternating one breath per
side all the way through.  Do whatever works for you, but I strongly
echo all the posts I've read about the advantages of bilateral breathing.

  -- Chuck Amsler

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Brian Hanaf » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 05:25:57


Quote:
>Of course, this is far from an objective study...I couldn't
>see all the swimmers, and am recalling this from memory.
>My conclusion, however,  was that most world-class distance
>freestylers breath with every stroke, occasionally
>switching breathing to the opposite side for a
>few breaths (To check out the competition on that side of
>the pool? To keep the stroke in balance?), then switching back.

Did you notice which side of the pool they were checking more
frequently?  They may have been looking for their coaches to find out
what their pace was.

BTW, thanks to everyone who sent advice on open water swimming.  My
wife finished in about the top 1/3 to 1/2 for her age group, had a
great time, and thinks she can do much better next time:-)

-- Brian

--
Brian Hanafee                         Advanced Decision Systems

(415) 960-7300                        Mountain View, CA 94043-1230

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by beils.. » Thu, 09 Jul 1992 19:57:44

Quote:

> From my own experience and from what I have seen at swim meets,
> swimmers often swim quite differently during a race than during

  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Quote:
> practice.  Swimmers will do alternate breathing during practice but
  ^^^^^^^^^
> will do what's more comfortable for them during the race

> Cathy Smith


        This is a very true observation, having been a collegiate swimmer
myself, I can admit that during workouts we would try to breath every 5-7
strokes during a set in order to improve breathing capacity and endurance.
BUT....during meets we would most naturally revert to what was most
comfortable for the particular swimmer.  Also the distance of a race often
determines the breathing pattern.  For instance, in a 50 free a true sprinter
would breath maybe twice, perhaps 3 times at the most for the entire race.
A 100 would involve more breathing, but perhaps only every 5-9 strokes, a 200
would come down to 5-7 strokes, and a 500 or more would be from every stroke
to maybe 3 or 5 strokes.  It is a balance for the swimmer between maintaining
a consistant and even stroke with maximum efficiency and the need for oxygen.
Or at least that is the way I see it.  I try to breath as little as possible
until my stroke starts to come apart, then I gradually decrease the strokes
between breaths, and a lot depends upon the distance of the race as well.

        But, no matter what you try to accomplish during a race, you should
practice at least several sets during a workout alternate breathing.  It is
valuable for keeping the stroke even and efficient, seeing the competition,
and more importantly increasing lung capacity and breathing efficiency.  I
would suggest to everyone out there to do what I still do, that is tape
the Olympic swimming on your VCR and study the competitor's strokes.  You
can learn a lot from watching the worlds best and how they swim....especially
in slow-mo if you have that on your VCR.  I don't know if NBC will have
the underwater cameras like they did for the trials, but some of those
shots are beautiful for stroke analysis...(eg. Mel Stewart's 200 fly).
Give it a try and then head for the local watering hole and put what you
see into action and feel the difference!!!

-Good luck .... Jim.

Quote:

> --


 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Peter Wayn » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 04:04:35

Quote:

>> From my own experience and from what I have seen at swim meets,
>> swimmers often swim quite differently during a race than during
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> practice.  Swimmers will do alternate breathing during practice but
>  ^^^^^^^^^
>> will do what's more comfortable for them during the race

>> Cathy Smith

>    This is a very true observation, having been a collegiate swimmer
>myself, I can admit that during workouts we would try to breath every 5-7
>strokes during a set in order to improve breathing capacity and endurance.

I've heard that holding your breath while your swimming really doesn't
do that much for your endurance or your breathing capacity. Why? Well,
endurance is completely an aerobic event and a better endurance means
you have a better ability to utilize oxygen efficiently. There is a
big difference between holding your breath and training at altitude
because the body removes most of the oxygen from the lungs pretty
quickly. I would guess that holding your breath just increases the
amount of lactic acid in your body and, hopefully, your ability to
tolerate it. It doesn't really do anything for endurance.

Holding your breath can't help your breathing ability, can it? :-)

I agree that bi-lateral breathing can straighten out your stroke.

So what do others think? Am I just nuts? Is this complete
mis-information?

-Peter

--
Peter Wayner   Department of Computer Science Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY 14850

Home: 116 Oak Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850  Phone: 607-277-6678

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Tim Ri » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 04:45:20

   Holding your breath can't help your breathing ability, can it? :-)

   I agree that bi-lateral breathing can straighten out your stroke.

   So what do others think? Am I just nuts? Is this complete
   mis-information?

A local swim coach spoke at a triathlon workshop this spring.  He said
that breathing less often accomplished one thing: it allows a swimmer
to get a good cardiovascular workout without straining the resdt of
the body so much.  He recommended less frequent breathing on those
days when your arms (and legs) are dead and sore but you still want a
good workout.

He specifically stated that it does _not_ teach your body to tolerate
lactic acid better (which he said was the original reason people
incorporated it in their training).

I am still a bit confused as to whether the above supports the claim
that less frequent breathing helps you breating ability.

tim
--
    ...  Then they came for me,
           and by that time there was no one
             left to speak up for me. (Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945)

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Kare » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 08:23:15


Quote:
>He specifically stated that it does _not_ teach your body to tolerate
>lactic acid better (which he said was the original reason people
>incorporated it in their training).

Well, from what I remember of my coach telling us, the buildup of all
the fun lactic acid gets ither stored, or converted into some other
body chemical.  I can't remember which.  Anyways, what all that was
supposed to mean was that it would store up energy that the body uses
when it's working anaerobically (w/o air).  Since when you are racing,
you are going to go into some oxygen debt no matter what, that stored
up energy helps you out.

Quote:
>I am still a bit confused as to whether the above supports the claim
>that less frequent breathing helps you breating ability.

Well, consider if you breathe less frequently, whenever you do
breathe, you are probably going to take bigger fuller breathes, and
suck down more oxygen.  And of course, you just get more used to going
w/o O2 for longer.

Of course, who knows, maybe this is all bullshit.  The *experts* seem
to keep changing the rules (least they were when I swam).

-k

 
 
 

Freestyle Breathing

Post by Adrian Butsch » Fri, 10 Jul 1992 23:33:33

I'm new to the wonderful world of News (in fact, I first read articles yesterdayand I'm suitably impressed).  I was wondering if someone could refresh my
memory:  explain the three energy systems briefly, and when they kick in when
you're swimming.  I'm a fledgling coach, you see, and I haven't yet had a
clear and short answer to this question.  

Thanks.