One of the most common actions in our sport is the flip turn. Depending on how you accomplish this action, you’re either making your life easier… or harder.
Why Do It:
Because you want faster turns, you need to make sure you’re traveling the shortest distance during your turn, and it all starts with where you’re looking.
How to Do It:
1. Before you start doing your turns, check out the wall. You’ll probably see some markings, or features of the wall, that can be a reference point for when you’re going to turn. In the pool that we swim in each morning, you’ll notice an aluminum edge, then a line where the wall and aluminum edge meet, and also the ledge that we place our feet on to stand while at the wall.
2. After becoming a bit more familiar with the pool’s wall, do some turns experimenting with where you look.
3. If you’re looking directly AT the wall, or at the line at the end of the wall, you’re probably traveling in too big of a circle, or making your turn take too long.
4. To travel in a smaller circle and shorten your turn, look lower. In our case, we look at the ledge where we rest our feet. This means you’ll be part way through your turn sooner than you used to.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
The next time you watch other swimmers do flip turns, watch for the "humpback" as they approach the wall. If a swimmer is lunging UP prior to going DOWN into the turn, they’re wasting time. Refer to the drill learned from Cal Coach, Dave Durden, for a bit more information on this.
Become more familiar with where you’re looking as you approach the wall, and look lower. Hopefully, by starting your turn with your eyes lower, you’ll shorten the distance you travel in your turn, and make your turns faster.