Through the history of swimming, there have been individuals who have proven alternative techniques really work. Mel Stewart and Robert Margalis are two great butterfly swimmers who use side breathing in fly, and you should at least try it too.
Why do it:
Very simply, unless you’ve tried a technique, do you really know if it’s NOT meant for you? While not all swimmers will be successful doing this, all swimmers should at least try it.
How to do it:
1) To make it easier as you learn, put on some fins (of course, if you’re more comfortable without fins, these are not requried).
2) Start with single arm fly, breathing low on every stroke, with one goggle in the water, using a straight arm recovery to simulate butterfly.
3) Alternate 3 right, 3 left, 3 full stroke without breathing on the full stroke.
4) Next, try full stroke swimming, breathing every 2, but now breathe right, center, left… alternating where your head is looking.
5) Finally, breathe every stroke to one side. Switch sides per length to determine which is more comfortable.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
When you breathe, do your best to keep one goggle in the water, just like you would on freestyle. Turn your head back to center after each breath. Finally, try to pay close attention to turning your head, and not lifting it. You’ll ultimately find one side is better than the other, but you’ll need to try them both for a little while to make that determination.