Freestyle - A lot easier if you breath
I was swimming groups of lengths, interspersed with Total Immersion drills, which concentrated on my left-side breathing. Since the drills are pretty slow lengths of the pool, I kept out of the roped off lane and in the main pool - it wasn’t very busy, so I was in no-one’s way here.
In the roped off lane was a woman doing some serious front crawl distance. On my full stroke lengths, I found that I could keep pace with her, AND at a lower stroke count. So I was apparantly swimming more efficiently.
Yet after about five lenghts, I started to feel like David Blaine doing the underwater stunt thing. By eight, it felt like I’d been holding my breath for . . . for ever. Not good - not good at all.
So what was going on? I thought about this while I did a few lengths of drills toward the end of my session. And suddenly the light came on.
I wasn’t exhaling fully. So every time I rolled to breathe, there wasn’t that much capacity in my lungs available to fill. In more detail, what I was doing was only breathing out on the actual strokes, and not on the recovery / glide phases. So when swimming while breathing to one side only, my sequence looks like this:
- Left arm forward; right arm recovering; finishing breathing in.
- Right arm forward; left arm stroke; squirt some breath out.
- Right arm forward; left arm recovering; hold breath.
- Left arm forward; right arm stroke; squirt some breath out & roll to breathe in.
It’s marginally better on a bilateral stroke, but because I’m doing more work for the limited breathing out, I soon run out of gas again!
I only had this realisation right at the end of the session, so didn’t have much more than a few lengths to practice breathing out continually. But those that I did seemed much better.
I’m away on business for the next few days - I just hope that the hotels have decent sized pools to try this out in a full session.