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Swimming

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  • Feb. 2013
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should sprint breaststrokers breath every stroke or use alternate breathing? The suggestion is made that there is a benefit to alternate breathing, while Olympians Mike Barrowman and Kristy Kowal offer their reactions. Barrowman suggests even less frequent breathing. The Proposal

Why do swimmers breathe every stroke in the 50 and 100 short course breaststroke races? Coaches say, "Breathing is part of the biomechanics of the stroke. Therefore, why not?" That answer is not good enough for me.

Consider the facts derived from scientific research and published by the American Swimming Coaches Association:  Breaststroke requires more strength (power) than any other stroke, including butterfly.  Anaerobic glycolysis is the primary energy system used for the first 40 seconds of a sprint. This encompasses all 50s. Discounting the dive, 40 seconds accounts for about 75 to 80 percent of the 100 yard breaststroke. The fastest men's 100 yard breaststroke is 51.86; the women's record is 59.05.  More coaches are teaching breast and fly together as the short axis strokes: "pressing the T,'' "the outstroke is identical in both," the butt rises in both, the minute the butt sinks, swimmers using both strokes start swimming "uphill" instead of the desired "downhill." The speed generated by college sprint breaststrokers is amazing: there have been numerous relay splits of sub-23.5 for short course yards. Jeremy Linn's split was 24.28 on the way to his amazing 51.86 American record for the 100 yard breast in 1997. Even Masters swimmers at age 52 have done 28.0 for 50 yards. Mark Warnecke of Germany owns the 50 short course meters world record at 26.70 from 1998. The record for the 100 is 57.66 by Ed Moses (who also set the 200 breast record of 2:06.40 one day later). In addition, Moses also holds the long course WR in the 50 meter breast with a 27.39 from the U.S. nationals in March. And in the 100, Russia's Roman Sloudnov became the first man to break a minute when he went...

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