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Huntington Beach California
I am also a first timer that placed first and last in my age group 65-69 and I have tried breathing above water totally, swimming five strokes between breaths and every third stroke but my strokes are so inconsistant that I end up sucking in water. Pool water is bad enough but I am afraid I will take a long time to get good enough for open water. I only did a mini for my first TRI and I am going for a regular Sprint Dec 5th in Holiday Classic. (400 yd swim) The mini was 150 yd swim and I have done 250 yds in practice. Dec 5th is sneaking up on me. I may be the last one out of the pool but as long as I finish , I will be happy for this go around. I have run four marathons and three years ago I could barely run 2 miles so what the heck, go for it!
66! And I thought I was a late starter at 50 for Tri's.
Although I am a rookie swimmer, I do participate in my local Masters club swim workouts. I enjoy and learn a lot about the variations in swim technique by watching the faster swimmers at the other end of the pool.
There is a young lady swimmer that I watch and she fluctuates between the usual alternate breathing stroke (every third stroke) and then she doubles up with two breaths on one side in a row and then two breaths on the other side in a row. Depends on how much air she needs I suppose. In this way, she is still bilateral breathing but more frequently. While it may slow you down a bit to breathe this frequently, it addresses the biomechanics - balance issue to keep both sides working.
I know, 65 is late to start but I did run cross country in HS way back in 1958-60 and I played a lot of tennis for many years until I wore out or thought I wore out both kness in tennis. When I turned 65 I watched my grown kids run half marathons and got the bug. First I walked and later learned the run-walk in Team in Training. One of the TNT coaches got me interested in TRIs last year in a Mini-Tri and now at 67 I hope to do my first Sprint TRI Dec 5th. I checked out the videos on goswim.tv and they seem to be very helpful, thanks.
You have receiv3ed a number of good replies. I started Tri training at age 54 and I could barely swim. Breathing every third stroke sounded like a pipe dream. I joined a Masters group and acted as the anchor.
The secret to learning this is to initially limit your swims to only 25 to 50 yards at a a time then take a 15-20 second rest. Only swim as long as you can hold good form. In swimming the form (technique) is the item to concentrate on. You want to build good form and avoid bad form at all cost. Whenever you get tire or experience out of breathe feeling stop because your form will be turning to crap. You can;t afford to have your body memorize a crap stroke..
My experience I have gone from a 2:15 per 100 yards to a 1:40 per 100 yards in a year. While that is still slow I no longer look like I am drwoning. On the breathing you need to concentrate on rolling your body and breathing without lifting you head out of the water. If you raise your head your feet sink and you go SLOW. Keep your head down, turn you body and breathe with just your nose moth and one eye out of the water. The 45 degree flexibility you have will be plenty for this. GOOD LUCK!
Thanks, MwR, and to all the others who have contributed so much, and encouraged me to go on. I've printed many of your suggestions, and I try to remember to incorporate as many of them into my workouts as possible. By stopping to rest for a moment after each lap, I can now do about 10 laps of alternate-side breathing, and while it's not starting to feel natural yet, I never dreamed I'd be able to do it AT ALL when I started...and a side benefit is that now my 'natural' freestyle, ie. right-side breathing, seems almost effortless. I did 2000 yards the other day, and felt like I was getting stronger at the end of the hour.
I can't wait for my next sprint tri, in March.
Again, many thanks,