> I'm a 34 year old masters swimmer (been at it for 5 yrs) who never swam
> Only recently have I started bilateral breathing on my FS stroke (ie. every
> third stroke) instead of breathing every second stroke always on the same side.
> I noticed that I'm slower than before the switch.
> Is this due to:
> 1. Additional flailing around as I breathe on my "new" side, since I think
> I'm not as flexible that way, or
> 2. Less oxygen, since I'm only breathing 2/3 as much as I used to, or
> 3. A combination of both of these, or
> 4. Something else.
> Can I expect my times to improve eventually (or at least get back to where
> they were), or is bilateral breathing inherently slower???
> Any ideas appreciated in advance...
> Calgary AB
In my experience both concerns apply. You undoubtedly have one arm which
is stronger than the other and when this arm is the downside arm at the
time of your breath you will get a better pull than when it isn't. Most
swimmers automatically breath to the side that causes their strong arm to
be on the down side in the roll during the breath. If you alternate
breath, you are forced to use your "weak side" equally with your strong
side. Bilateral breathing will tend to diminish this imbalance aver time
but will not likely eliminate it completely. Most outstanding swimmers
have somewhat imbalanced stroke with a strong side and a weak side. As for
the lack of oxygen, this only plays a role if you are exerting yourself
hard enough so that you need to be breathing every stroke. If so, then
going to an alternate breathing pattern will definietly cut down on the
amount of oxygen you are taking in and force you to slow down in order to
come back in to balance. I have tried to get around this limitation by
breathing to one side when I am exerting myself on a strenous set, but by
changing the side I breath to with each length. That way I am not favoring
one side continuously but I can still get as much oxygen as possible.
Despite having swam in this fashion for over a year and a half, I still
have much greater strength and speed when I breath to the left than when I
breath to the right. Other factors may also be palying a role. Your
mileage may vary!!