Swimming Science - TURN TIPS

Swimming Science put out a great article on FIVE FLIP TURN FUNDAMENTALS.  Terrific tips to keep in mind during EVERY practice to maximize your walls and capitalize on wall speed.  Read and apply!

Five flip turn fundamentals

  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.


Every swimmer performs countless turns at practice. Make sure every turn counts and you’re implementing these five flip turn fundamentals, as the turn is a high yield area of improvement!


Posted on December 28, 2014 .