This months Swim Smooth news letter is the perfect reminder that its all about the basics. Get your breathing and your kick right and the rest will become easy(easier)! It’s also a great reminder that there’s is no one way to swim. We all have slightly different techniques, these may be driven by past learning or injuries that we’ve adapted into our stroke.
I feel it’s important to have a palette of techniques at your disposal. You might be comfortable breathing only to one side, you always use a low swinging arm recovery, and you might (as with most triathletes) never kick… Learning to breathe bilaterally can have many benefits to your stroke, a couple of these are that being comfortable breathing to both sides means that when the water is choppy or you’re trying to draft you can switch to breathing on your other side.
Last years ‘A’ race or only race for me was the Journey to Worlds End in Norway. A 58km Swim Run event held down an archipelago of islands down the coast from Oslo. I highly recommend giving a swim run event a go if you have the chance. Triathlons, especially in the longer distances are about competing alone, chasing time and motivating yourself to push harder and not give up. Competing with a partner was completely rewarding, looking after and motivating each other gave a whole new aspect to long distance racing. The race started just before dawn which meant the first couple of swim legs were in almost complete darkness. Using tinted googles at that point felt like a big mistake and I wondered how I’d be able to spot the next island let alone my race partner. But then cue our first big swim, 800 or so meters across to the first island. The sun started rising on our left. I usually breathe to my right, that’s what I more comfortable with but in recent years I’ve learnt and practised to breathe bilaterally. So the sun started rising and I switched to breathing on the left and was rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise.
Practise in the pool and at the club sessions so that you can make use of the skill during your next race and enjoy the sunrise!