It’s simple. The tighter the tuck, the faster you’ll spin on a flip turn. But how tight is tight? Can you touch your legs to your chest? If so, then you know what a tight turn is.
Why Do It:
How well you execute your flip turns can mean the difference between winning and losing a freestyle race. Most swimmers don’t spend enough time practicing the fine points of the flip turn. Instead, they use flip turns as simply a way to get turned around headed the other way. But a great turn can be a huge competitive advantage no matter the distance, or level, of swimming.
How To Do It:
1. Approach the wall with your eyes down. Our swimmer does lift her eyes a bit, but we’ll cut her a bit of slack since the summer pool she’s in doesn’t have a sharp corner where the wall meets the bottom. Why look down? One reason is the eyes will soon be facing the other direction. So it only makes sense to reduce the distance they have to travel. Keep the eyes looking down.
2. As you initiate the turn, the head dives down, and curls back toward the feet, or other end of the pool. The hands, which are now trailing, flip and are used as levers to help the body around.
3. Now for the key aspect of this drill: TUCK the knees toward the chest. Get them as close as you can, and create the smallest possible circle with your body. Remember (and we can’t stress this enough): The smaller you can make your body, the faster you spin. And the faster you spin, the sooner you’re ready to come off the wall, and the more speed you carry off the wall.
4. After your quick spin, your hands will be ready to streamline, and lead the body off the wall for the next lap.
How To Do It Well (the Fine Points):
If you’re a bit older (like me), it may be a little tough to get your knees all the way to your chest, but do your best. Even THINKING you’re getting your knees that close is going to keep you tighter and help your turns. Keep the images on this page in mind when you do your next flip turn, and that will also help.
For those swimmers who say they don’t have the opportunity to practice flip turns, or specific parts of your turns…I don’t buy that at all. Most swimmers have dozens or even HUNDREDS of chances a day. The question is: Are you taking the opportunity to practice? Race your teammates on EVERY turn. Try to WIN on EVERY turn, and see if they notice what’s happening. The best thing is that they’ll try to beat you as well, and you’ll all get faster.