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Another Swim Question....


I posted yesterday saying how my swimming has come on leaps and bounds since I started 2 months ago and fro listening to this forum, well, I have just got back from the pool and again feel good about my swim but have been watching some of the better swimmers in the pool and have a query on breathing....

I swim like this .......right stroke & breath..... left stroke..... right stroke..... left stroke.... right stroke and breath..... and so on.....

Most of the 'better' swimmers swam like this .......right stroke & breath..... left stroke.......right stroke & breath..... left stroke... and so on....

So my question is, am I doing it wrong? or is it a personal preference?... any advice on this topic is greatly appreciated as I need/want to improve even more.

Thanks all.

ps. I hope my description is simple to understand...


  • scott298scott298 Posts: 122

    It's best to breath on every third stroke, or bi-lateral breathing.

    because breathing on both sides should even out your stroke.

    for example, I see alot of people at my pool breath on just their right side, and when they breath on their right side the stroke looks ok, high elbow and the arm doesn't go swining to far outwards.

    But when they aren't taking a breath, so when their left arm is coming out of the water, well basicly its all over the place,

    their arm barely comes out of the water at all!

    so basicly its just a case of being able to have a nice smooth rythm without your breathing inturrupting it!!!

    hope that kinda helps [&:]
  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    Thanks for the advice, I will implement this technique on my next visit! Im sure it will help..... thanks again.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Bilateral breathing, excellent to make your weaker side better. Also a necessity for sighting when for example swimming in a channel. Make it the same habit as breathing to your best side.
  • I naturally swim bi-laterally but also practice uni-laterally both left and right. It helps being able to do so if the surf in an open water swim is coming from one side. You'd otherwise get a belly full of salt water!!!
  • One advantage of bilateral breathing is that you get used to taking less oxygen per distance - if you then breathe every other breath during the race then it is effectively a free oxygen boost (a bit like training at high altitude for a low altitude running race). You can extend this by doing breathing drills - i.e. 2xlengths breathing every 3rd stroke, then 2 lengths breathing every 5, then 7

    Another advantage is that you will get used to breathing on both sides. This is a big advantage if you have a sea swim where it is much easier to breathe towards the shore rather than towards the sea (if you breathe towards the sea then you can end up with a mouthful of water every time your breath coincides with a wave). Most sea swims are out and then back, meaning that you need to breathe on one side for the out-leg and then the other side for the return - if you practice bilateral breathing in the pool then you should get equally comfortable on either side.

  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    excellent. i will try it tomorrow when I swim! thanks all
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    You make it sound soooo easy, when I first samoled bi lateral breathing, it was more like unilateral drowning, but I am better now...a bit.
  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    would have attempted it but the pool was down to one lane for swimmers (the other two lanes for teaching kids) and there mst have been 15 people trying to swim... what a joke
  • BilleyBilley Posts: 4
    Learning bilateral breathing is advisable. If you're in a lake swim with a crosswind this can set up waves across your track. Being able to breathe on either side means that you can keep going and breathe away from the 'set' of the waves whichever 'leg' you're on.
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