I just did a 5k session of alternate breathing rhythms. Part of that was 1k straight breathing on my wrong side. I remember the first time I tried to do that 3 or 4 years ago, I couldn’t make it past 400 metres and my neck got really stiff and sore.
When I started swimming I was naturally (and luckily), breathing every 3 strokes bi-laterally. (Breathing to each side). Eilís introduced me to hypoxic training for the Channel double-relay. Hypoxic training essentially means reducing your body’s oxygen delivery ability and is a standard in swim training. It increases cardio-vascular capability which improves swimming, but it also useful for open water swimmers, allowing you to develop a greater range of breathing patterns.
If you are out swimming and the wind changes such that chop or waves are coming from the side you breathe on, you may encounter significant difficulties.
Also, at least as important, if it an accompanied swim and you have a boat on the side of you that you can’t look toward, you will both collide with and veer away from the boat, and end up swimming further or swimming into obstructions. And the boat can’t always changes sides. In rough weather the boat may have to be between you and the wind.
It’s not essential to be able to breathe on both sides, but it is highly recommended. If I hadn’t seen Ned’s ability to only breathe to his right, and still do well, I would have said essential.
So today I did:
3 x 500 breathing every 3,4l,5,4r,5,7
1000 breathing 4l
2 x 500 3,5,4l,4r, on 8mins.
Adjust as required.
Maybe do some 100s of 3,5,7,9,5,7,3.
Or alternate sides on 100.