Swimming Breakthrough

April 30, 2009

Last night, at the group swim practice, I had a breakthrough.

To properly tell the story, I need to start waaaaaaay back at the first practice.  Jim, the coach, explained that during a triathlon swimmers get crowded together and lots of splashing can occur.  For this reason, it is a good idea to be able to breathe on either side of your stroke – it’s called bilateral breathing.  It goes like this:

Stroke with right hand, turn head to the left and breathe

Stroke with the left hand

Stroke with the right hand

Stroke with the left hand, turn head to the right and breathe.

Repeat

I got this down and had been swimming this way ever since. 

Last night, Jim asked if I was getting enough oxygen with the bilateral breathing.  I said, “What are you talking about?  Isn’t that how we’re supposed to be breathing?”

See, what I thought was the rule of tri swim breathing turned out just to be a drill.   In reality, it’s supposed to look like this:

Stroke with right hand, turn head to left to breathe.

Stroke with left hand

Repeat.

A lot more breathing this way equals a lot more oxygen to the brain equals a lot more stamina.  It took me a few lengths of the pool to get used to this “new” way of breathing but once I mastered it, I could feel a huge difference.

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