Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Value of a Symmetrical Stroke

It's not unusual to see people doing freestyle and breathing on only one side. A story I heard about Natalie Caughlin was that she was such a swimmer. Natalie, as you probably know was one of the USA's top female swimmers in 2006 Summer Olympics. While it didn't keep her from setting records, swimming on one side built up the muscles on one side to the detriment of the other. When the coaches suggested breathing on both sides, her stroke improved and so did her muscle symmetry. I'm no competitive swimmer, but I note a distinct speed difference to the better when I breathe on both sides. I had to force myself to learn - with a lot of water swallowing before I got the skill down. In addition, I feel stronger overall after having learned this skill. Finally, I find my stroke is smoother, and I slide through the water faster. I'm swimming symmetrically! Try it yourself. Be sure to give yourself time to gain the muscle memory. You'll be amazed.

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