Turns - Freestyle Flip Turn Step #5

Jun 8, 2007
Turns - Freestyle Flip Turn Step #5

Here's the fifth and final step in our learning sequence for flip turns.


Why Do It: 

In Steps #1, #2, #3, and #4 of our flip-turn sequence, we've asked you to flip straight over and push off on your back. Pushing off on your back is a great way to learn the basics of the flip turn, but eventually you need to get onto your side so you can start swimming freestyle. In Step #5 you'll learn how to do that.

How To Do It: 

Before we start the learning sequence for Step #5, let's look at where we're headed.

Watch how this swimmer flips straight over to get a fast, clean somersault.

But notice that as her feet hit the wall, the feet are angled slightly. When she DRIVES off the wall, this foot position will help her get angled onto her side, and this sets her up for the kicks that will take her into the breakout.

Before we get to this week's how-to instruction, let's watch one more thing about this swimmer, her EYES. As her legs come over, her eyes look for the knees. She almost touches nose to knees as her feet hit the wall. This keeps her head right between her shoulders and sets her up for a super-tight streamline.

OK. Here's how to do it.

Before you try the actual flip turn with a torque at the end, take a minute to figure out where you want your feet to land on the wall.

Start by hanging on to the wall with one hand. Place your feet on the wall with the toes pointed toward 10 o' clock or 11 o' clock rather than straight up.

Take a moment to memorize how this foot position feels, then sink down and do a drop push. Push off not on your back, but just slightly on your side.

If you're more comfortable on the other side, your toes would be pointed at 1 o' clock or 2 o' clock rather than 10 o' clock.

This is how you will be pushing off the wall on Step #5 of our flip-turn sequence.

Now let's try it in action.

Stand in the shallow end, just under the flags and facing the wall. You can swim in this time, but keep it nice and relaxed.

As you approach the wall, pull back with one arm, then pull back with the other arm and kick head first into your tuck. Go STRAIGHT OVER, but this time, just as your feet hit the wall, turn the feet SLIGHTLY so that when they land on the wall, the toes are pointed toward 11 o' clock or 1 o' clock, rather than straight up.

Push off ALMOST on your back, but not quite.

If your feet are angled on the wall, the drive will take you to your side.

Stay streamlined as you dolphin or flutter kick into your breakout.

Remember to flip STRAIGHT OVER and turn your feet at the last moment. In this clip, our swimmer torques her body too soon. She doesn't go straight over, and this makes her spin a little slower.

Also remember to keep looking for your knees. This swimmer does all the right things, but as she gets ready to drive off the wall, she looks away from her knees and looks forward. This makes her arch her back and she doesn't get as good a streamline.

The most important thing is to keep PRACTICING. This swimmer is still in the learning stage for flip turns. She's doing many things right, weightless hands, a straight-over flp, eyes look for the knees, and her head and arms are in great position for a streamline push. She goes a little too quickly to her side, but her feet are angled correctly and, with practice she'll learn to push off a bit more on her back.

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.

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