When thinking about swimming the other day I had a few thoughts to share.
A good quote from patrick spurred on a bunch a thinking about balance in the water.
" You need to breath bilateral to balance your stroke, you don't have to race breathing to both sides but training that way will make you a better swimmer when racing"
After thinking about it he couldn't be more right. See, often when you have your stroked analysed you will have a flaw that is predominate to one side. Hand placement, catch, pull or whatever will be off slightly and often to one side. This is because your stroke isn't balanced. Perhaps you are producing this flaw as a way of trying to balance out your stroke. Breathing to both sides allows you to become balanced and correct this flaw to some degree.
Balance in the water might often be disregarded in comparison to other dry sports like say rowing, but it shouldn't. You need balance fore/aft, laterally, and torsionally to obtain the most efficient path through the water.
If you think about how you swim in open water as opposed to in the pool this theory of balance may become more apparent. Do you ever find yourself swimming off course in the lake? Yup, that's stroke imbalance.
There are a lot of drills to assess your balance in the water. One of my favourites that I try ever now and then to see if I have improved is doing a floating starfish on your front. To stay balanced requires your core recruitment and balance. After a while your legs are sure to sink as mine always do. With movement through the water though your legs will stay up. This drill isolates the fore/aft balance I mentioned eariler.
Swimming right for me is chugging along at about 20k a week. Litte effort is being done right now, focusing more on technique and feel.