Flip turn tips

Since I was never a swimmer before now (I hesitate to say I am even now), I have a lot to learn.  I’ve put the bulk of my focus on just the freestyle stroke.  I’ve not paid much attention to the turns although I obviously do a lot of them in a 25 yard pool.  However, now that I’ve started master’s swim practices, I get more and more pressure to learn to flip properly.  Here’s some interesting tips that I hadn’t heard before and thought they were worth reposting:

  1. Pull with your bottom hand! Luckily, this is a common practice on pool decks, but it still needs to be reiterated as Larsen et al. (2005) showed elite swimmers initiate their swimming with their bottom arm off a turn. This makes sense, as pulling with the bottom arm likely aides in rotation. However, future research must analyze the effects of pulling with the dominant or non-dominant arm when the swimmer is parallel to the bottom (as seen in those performing longer underwater dolphin kicking).
  2. Consider not kicking for the first 5-meters! Many anxious swimmers begin kicking immediately off the turn, likely impeding explosiveness from the push-off (Zamparo 2010). One study, found the highest velocity during the first 0.08 seconds off the wall (Wada 2010). Instead of kicking immediately off the turn, be patient and conserve same of your energy. Unfortunately, I can’t provide concrete times to start kicking, as everyone is different, but make sure you are trying different distances off the wall.
  3. Swim fast into the wall! The faster an object goes in, the faster it goes out! This applies to bouncy balls and swimming. High correlations have been suggested between speed entering a turn, speed of the flip, and turning performance (Puel 2010; Puel 2012).
  4. Get deep off the turn! As underwater kicking becomes more prevalent, it is essential to optimize under water speed. It seems the deeper one performs their underwater kicking, the greater the likelihood of improved performance, as the water is less turbulent and slowing in deeper water (Marinho 2010).
  5. Dive into the turn! Swimmers with better turns start their turns further away from the wall with a faster speed providing them a quicker push from the wall (Puel 2012). This makes diving into the turn a key move, likely decreasing their turning time.

Source: 5 Flip turn fundamentals


Posted on January 4, 2013, in Swimming, Triathlon Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for the link; that is helpful. I have never been able to do a good flip turn; I miss half the time and end up dead in the water or panic because I feel like I am running out of water. However, I work out with a guy does flip turns and so I can’t beat him. Competition is the motivator for lots of improvements. Maybe it will final teach me to do a flip turn.

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