Many swim coaches are adamant about having their swimmers NOT GRAB the wall on an open turn…even when there’s a wall to grab…and it’s legal to grab it. THis advice can actually slow you down at the turn.
Why Do It:
If you’re swimming in the United States, you’ll find that most pools have gutters or lips or edges rather than flat walls. Use them! The gutters can give you extra leverage, and can aid you in spinning faster. They can provide a much safer turn in slippery pools.
How to Do It:
1. I filmed these five competitive swimmers from a senior group… with no instruction other than "do a breaststroke turn." Each of them "grabs" the wall with their right hand.
2. The important hand to watch is the left hand. As you approach the wall, you have to understand that the left hand (or right if you turn to the other side), barely grazes the wall… the left hand DOES NOT GRAB.
3. With the right hand, you’ll place your fingers just enough on the edge of the wall to gain the leverage to allow you to spin your body.
4. Before the feet get to the wall, the "wall hand" will release and be placed quickly back into the water.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Do some tests. Turn with both hands under the water… then turn with both hands on the edge of the pool. Decide for yourself which is faster, and which positioning of the leveraging arm creates less resistance as it leaves the wall and gets placed over the head for the push.
If you swim outside the United States, you’ll probably not have ledges and will have to do "flat-wall turns." That will be a focus of another video. If you’re in the US, use the walls to help you spin… not to slow you down.