Why we teach unilateral breathing in Freestyle (as opposed to bilateral)?

Posted by Mermaid Staff on April 27th, 2018

We teach our students to breath every two strokes instead of every 3. This is called unilateral training and it encourages muscle coordination and memory each time these muscles are recruited to move in a certain pattern. When you breathe in a bilateral system it means you alternate sides to breathe every 3 strokes, thus in effect, if you intend on fixing an error on your left side breathing pattern, you would only get to correct and practice it every 7th stroke.

Instead of your brain having to alternate the task (ie breathing different sides within the stroke), breathing every 2 strokes trains your brain to do the same task more frequently (ie breathing to the 1 side) so it develops the stroke and muscle memory through frequent repetition as well as better coordination. This is a fantastic way for learners of side breathing and the beginnings of freestyle too!

Brain science tells us your brain actually cannot multitask!! Your brain learns and develops the memory function by continual focus and repetition of the same task without interruptions. Try thinking about how bodybuilders do reps to build up their biceps with bicep curls or even conducting lunges in order to build stability and strength through each leg – they repeat on one leg then repeat on the opposite side ;)

We ensure we train our students to be able to breathe on both sides of course! One lap breathing bn one side, then the next lap breathing to the opposite. This helps them become better, stronger and more effective AND coordinated swimmers! Oh and breathing every 2 strokes provides a frequency of oxygen to the swimmer rather than breathing every 3 strokes :)




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