Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a swimmer and her coach. She asked the question that every swimmer, in the eons to come, would ask, “Coach, how can I become better at flip turns?” The coach looked hard at her, down the length of pool and then back at her. “By doing them!"
And it’s true, every time we approach the wall, we have an opportunity to open/flip turn to the best of our ability and it is this opportunity that creates a better turn in the end. By simply doing them. The acquisition of the skill to flip turn might be like learning a language. The more open we are to it or that necessity dictates, the quicker we will learn it. Don’t be shy or even worry what others might think of your turning skills. We are all here to learn, enjoy and work on our swimming strokes, technique and turns.
The flip turn is essentially about three things: conviction, timing and speed.
Conviction is all about getting the turn done, not hesitating or doubting to do the turn in the first place. Don’t worry, you are not going to crack your skull open by executing the turn incorrectly. Most times it is your butt that gets whacked, but even then, it is surprisingly seldom that someone hurts themselves by doing a flip turn. The main thing is committing to it.
When do we turn? How do we time it? Well we time it by looking at the bottom of the pool and taking one more stroke after seeing the black T on the bottom and then starting the tumble turn. This is when you should turn and if you follow this simple rule, you will be turning like a master in no time.
Turn with speed. After the last stroke mentioned above, we need to initiate the turn by bowing in the water. Bend your body at the waist and dip your head down in the water as if bowing, then throw your legs over the top and voila, we have made a turn. The bowing and turn must happen with speed, otherwise we sink to the bottom like a scuttled war ship. Feet should be placed with a slight turn against the wall, to allow you to push off onto your side slightly.
One of the hardest parts about the flip turn is push off the wall. Imagine it being like a squat on land. You need to tighten and activate your core as you push off, otherwise you also sink to the bottom. We can easily simulate the push off by always pushing off the wall in a streamline position, this mimics the movement exactly.
So just go out this week and give those walls hell.