Here’s the fourth and final step in our learning sequence for open turns.
Why Do It:
In Step #3 of our open-turn series, we asked you to push off directly on your back. Pushing off on your back is a great way to learn the basics of the open turn, as this swimmer is doing.
But eventually you need to get onto your side so you can start swimming freestyle. In Step #4 you’ll learn how to do that.
How to Do It:
In Steps 1, 2, and 3, we asked you to approach the wall with your head down and on your stomach.
In Step #4, you’ll start by approaching the wall with your head down, but with your body tilted so that one shoulder is straight up. After you collapse into the wall, push away and roll your body so that your OTHER shoulder is pointed straight up.
Here it is again. As you approach the wall, get on your side so that your top shoulder is pointed up to the ceiling and your arm is dry from shoulder to hand.
As you push away, get the OPPOSITE shoulder pointed straight up. In the learning stage, push off with your arms at your sides and with your eyes looking straight up.
Here it is again at full speed. You want to travel in a straight line directly IN to the wall and back out again along the same line. Carry your speed directly IN… and carry it right back out.
The next step is the actual open turn.
Here it is again in slow motion. As you extend one arm toward the wall, get on your side so that the OTHER arm is at your side, with the shoulder pointed up.
Collapse into the wall, push away with the turning arm, and then bring the turning hand right past your head and into streamline.
Here’s another angle. As you approach the wall, keep your eyes down and your head low. Tilt slightly on your side so that the shoulder of the trailing arm is pointed up.
Collapse into the wall, push away, and bring the turning hand out of the water and just past the head… and into streamline.
Keep everything low to the water.
From under water, we can see that the swimmer is nearly horizontal as she approaches the wall. The eyes are down and the head is low.
As she pushes away from the wall, she falls back, but plants the feet at an angle. She pushes off on her side, then rotates to her front during the glide.
After she pushes back, the turning hand enters the water just above her head and she is ready to streamline when she drives off the wall.
Notice that the swimmer falls BACK rather than spinning to the side. As her feet leave the wall, she’s on her side, then rotates more toward the front
Before you head to the pool to practice, let’s look at one more thing that will give you a faster turn … the FEET.
Most swimmers let their feet do THIS during the turn.
Try pointing your toes and drawing them up like THIS… which creates less drag and allows you to spin faster.
As we said at the beginning of this series, no one was BORN doing a flip turn or a great open turn. The most important thing is to keep PRACTICING.
For a good open turn, there are many things that feel weird and counter-intuitive — like collapsing into the wall…
… like letting go…
… and like not spinning around to look where you’re going before you push off.
It will take time for all these things to feel natural.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the series. Once you have the basics, remember that it’s up to you to add the dozens and hundreds of PRACTICE turns that will make you faster.