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Gary PGary P

Dogma has certainly changed. We’d have been called “weak” for breathing every two in a 100 when I was a HS swimmer in the 80’s. Now it’s acceptable, and even trending towards the norm. But the “best” breathing pattern is still an individual thing.

I took up swimming again about 4 years ago, and started training using USRPT. The 100 free isn’t always my feature event, but it’s something I train for consistently and race regularly. Once I got into shape, I tried various breathing patterns looking for incremental improvements in my USRPT sets. When I breated every 4, I was fast at first, but failed quickly. I was slower, but more consistent, breathing every 2. Every 3 was a touch faster than 2, and I could go longer than 4. But I could feel I was “hanging” briefly when breathing to the right; a phenomenon probably conditioned by millions of yards of circle-swimming traditional long distance training sets, where my stroke rate was slower and I always breathed right so I wouldn’t suck water every time a lanemate went past in the opposite direction.

Then I tried a 4/2 to the left, and it was the “Goldilocks” answer for me. It was incrementally faster than every three (consistently 1 to 2 tenths of second per 25), and I could get pretty deep in a USRPT set or finish a race strong. So that

That finals time and those splits look pretty good. Yes, breathing every 2 probably adds a little drag. But if the additional oxygen uptake allows you to hold your power longer, that could very well be worth more than the extra drag costs.

Experiment in your USRPT sets. Try various patterns. An answer will emerge.