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Salute the Official

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Showing respect for the officials is always a good thing, but now it can actually help you have a tighter, straighter, faster butterfly and breaststroke turn.  In this series of photos, a few swimmers demonstrate a very smart salute.

    

As you approach the wall for an open turn, start adjusting your stroke at the flags so that your eyes are down as you pass the "T".

  

Touch the wall in streamline, and let momentum carry your torso, hips and legs into the wall.

        

As the hips, legs, and feet flow forward into a tight tuck, drive one elbow back – karate-style – to help initiate your spin.  Resist the temptation to THROW the turning hand above the water and into the sky.

    

As your turning hand leaves the wall, you should be looking straight up and SALUTING the turn judge.  Look at how the turning hand is so low and compact that you can barely see it.  Remember, the goal on the open turn is to stay in a compact, tight ball.  This ball includes not only your body but also your hands and arms.  Think of the symmetry in the two arms — one bent and tight below the surface, the other bent and tight above.  This bent-arm recovery shortens the distance that your hand has to travel between the wall, and getting back into streamline for the pushoff.

To shorten this line even more, make sure your salute is smart and compact.  Your hand must be very close to your head as it enters the water.  Try not to let the hand sweep up or out.  It should move in a direct line from the wall, past your forehead and ears, then back into the water to meet your other hand.

Unlike a military salute, which is very deliberate and contains a pause, this salute is all about SPEED and AGGRESSION.  It happens so FAST that your biggest worry is that the official won’t even see it.  When done correctly, it should take high-speed photography to capture the salute.

No matter how much you respect the officials, don’t let them see you salute!  Tell them about it AFTER the race.