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  1. #1
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    Breathing and stroke technique

    Ok guys, and gals, here is the deal. I have been swimming fairly regularly, and I am to the point where I can swim 1000 yards without stopping, and can do about 2000 yards in a workout. I am worried though, that I am incredibly slow and inefficiant. I usually breath to the right right, and I breath on every stroke. I never get out of breath doing this, however, my right lat is always more tired then my left, and I am worried about muscle imbalance. are my fears baseless? will I never actually get a huge right lat muscle? I have been trying to breath to both sides but it is really hard, and it breaks up my rythm. I always seem to end up breathing in water and coughing a lot, and the lifeguards lean forward and tense up to see that I'm not drowning. so, does anyone know of any drills that I can do to improve my breathing technique?

    wow, that kinda rambled...my bad...
    Last edited by Phatman; 12-13-03 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well, I'm probably the last person to be giving you advice as I am a poor swimmer as well but I'll give you advice anyway :-)

    Whether or not you learn to breathe on both sides, focus on your technique and work out the stroke imbalance. You should be able to get the same drive on each side even if you only breathe to one side. Otherwise you'll have a tendency to carve to one side when you get in open water.

    -s

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    can a mod fix my typo in the title? I just realized I did that...

    slider, I seem to be able to go in a straight line when I am in the pool, I've never swam in open water though...maybe I need a coach. I'm a lifeguard, maybe they would give me free lessons to improve my swimming. probably not.

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    Things are a little different in open water. You don't have lane markers underneath you to let you know when you start going off line. Having a balanced stroke is pretty important or you'll zig zag through the water and add a lot of distance and time to your swim. You might want to have a coach help you out as you'll have to learn open water sighting as well. See if there are tri clubs in your area. I did my first tri through Team In Training which is a really good program but only on the west coast as far as I know.

    -s

  5. #5
    TriBob
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    I taught myself by doing one arm drills. This is a great drill by itself and you get to practice breathing on both side. Keep one arm extended out in front of you and stroke with one arm at a time. If you think you are going to drown, try it with flippers until you get used to the drill.

    I like doing 1-arm left, 1-arm right, catch-up, swim. Each for 25 yards during my warmup. Repeat if you like.

  6. #6
    Senior Member juciluci's Avatar
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    what tribob said.. excellent choice- one arm drills.. you may want to try sculling- on your back- you are forced to go in a straight line. if there is a Total Immersion clinic near you- go, your time and balance in the water will improve immensely.. other wise go to the library and check out their book.

    p.s. breathing on every stroke will waste your energy, if you have to get a coach for this, do it.. it could save your life in open water.

    i breathe on 3.
    ..life... ya gotta ride it til the wheels fall off.

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    Hi!

    Have you looked at www.totalimmersion.net ?
    I went to the weekend seminar and it helped me a lot.

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    Bananaed Brillig's Avatar
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    Try every third stroke. This is good for many reasons, it evens out your muscles and forces you to pace your breathing and especially to exhale fully.

    I start out that way and then switch back to every right when I get out of breath. But the every third stroke part gets longer each time...

  9. #9
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Can't add much other than sometimes I drill myself doing a series of laps: each stroke alternate sides, each stroke right, each stroke left, two strokes alternate sides.

    Also, practice the porpoise look every 10 strokes or so. Vital skill in open water.

    Focus on rhythm and smoothness. It makes 1000m fly by.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Bananaed Brillig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    Also, practice the porpoise look every 10 strokes or so.
    The what?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Charlie21's Avatar
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    Hi!, Have you looked at www.totalimmersion.net ?
    I went to the weekend seminar and it helped me a lot.
    Oliver,

    This is a technique that you inmerse the full body in the water? How it works?

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    "Porpoise look" is what I call it. I dunno, I think there may be other names, but basically you lift your head straight out of the water without stopping so you can get a good look around and make sure you're still on course.

    It takes some practice and strong neck and shoulder muscles but it's a must in the open water.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    I must confess, I have not been doing as much time in the pool as I would have liked, I've been focusing on my running for track. I'd like to break 5 in the mile and break 11:00 in the 2 mile. Once that is done, I'm gonna work more on my tri-stuff, like cycling and swimming. I'm hoping to get more miles and yards in after that.

    I am a lifeguard though so I get to watch a lot of people swim though. makes for good visualization technique, I guess. I was sitting on the guard stand the other day, and I was watching some really good swimmers. these are the really fast folks, the kind that swim for an hour and a half. anyway, I noticed that, particularly with the bigger guys, they move their arms pretty slowly, yet still go really fast. I would say that the most extreme case would be this one guy who probably only took about 8-10 strokes over the course of a lap.

    I recently did my lifeguard recertification, and one of the things that I had struggled with last year was the 200m swim. luckily, the time limit was like 3:45, so I had plently of time, but this year I wasn't too far behind the other guards who had been on swim team since age 4. they were doing flip turns though...

    caloso, thanks for that tip, its probably something that I'll have to work on, but I want to get my technique better before trying to do other things.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie21
    Oliver,

    This is a technique that you inmerse the full body in the water? How it works?
    No, it's the name of the swimming method! Have a look on their website, it really worth it!

    I really recommend doing the 2 days seminar. It has really improved my swimming technique and now I can feel if I'm swimming right or not.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Charlie21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver_gva
    No, it's the name of the swimming method! Have a look on their website, it really worth it!

    I really recommend doing the 2 days seminar. It has really improved my swimming technique and now I can feel if I'm swimming right or not.
    And the videos worth the $$?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rdbiker13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver_gva
    No, it's the name of the swimming method! Have a look on their website, it really worth it!

    I really recommend doing the 2 days seminar. It has really improved my swimming technique and now I can feel if I'm swimming right or not.

    I just started swiming myself.I checked out the Immersion site.Thats expensive 500$ for a weekend.I wish I could do it but I just spent 1,400 on a new bike.Do you think any of the videos will help?Do you think the library might have them?

    Later,Robin

  17. #17
    Junior Member cadence's Avatar
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    When you get to every third, go to every fith and then every seventh. It will keep you going in a straight line, and will improve your lung capacity.

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I've had some good improvements in my swimming times following the drills in Dave Scott's triathlon training book. Some people might find it a bit out of date, the guy's a Founding Father and the old school techniques work.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
    Member PATriGal's Avatar
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    I recently purchased the Total Immersion book and DVD. You should see if you can buy it used online. I'll confess I didn't follow the drills completely, the way the book/DVD suggests, but I still have found that my swimming has become easier. Maybe only a little faster, but with much less effort! Maybe next year I might look into a clinic.

    Also, I usually breathe on the left, and it's true: I found in open water that I tend to veer off course and to the left! Now that I realize it, I'm working more on sighting and breathing every third stroke. Good luck!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member danr's Avatar
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    This is a bad habit of many swimmers, including seasoned swimmers. I consider myself a seasoned swimmer and I always breathe to the right. It is best to breathe once every 3 strokes, alternating sides. It takes a lot of hard work to break bad swimming habits. If you can do it, more power to you.
    Does the perfect bike really exist?

  21. #21
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    I have been a swimmer all my life, taught swim lessons for 6 years telling everyone to breath to both sides, and what do I do? Breathe to the right every time! But I learned my lesson this passed weekend in my first triathlon - on my way back around the last set of buoys I was swimming parallel with the shore with the waves crashing right into me every time I took a breath on my right side. I quickly adjusted my breathing to straight forward or to the left because I wasn't real interested in consuming any more Lake Ontario water than necessary! I believe there is definitely a "natural" side you want to breathe on, but learning to breathe on both sides is very important.

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I've had good success by alternating breathing patterns during training. For example, do a set of breathing every other stroke on alternating sides, then a set breathing every three strokes on alternating sides, then all right, then all left. On all of these, practice lifting your head straight up to get a bearing. Mix it up, get into a rhythm, and it helps the laps go quicker.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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