Flip-Turn Clinic

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Swim
Tags: ,

If there is one glaringly obvious weakness in my swim, it’s my inability to consistently flip-turn at the end of each length.  Instead I do the whole catch the wall and push off again (also known as an ‘open turn’); this gives me that split second rest after each lap.  Ideally, I should be using flip-turns in order to maintain the momentum I’ve built up while swimming my laps.  But water will either go up my nose, or I miscalculate the distance to the wall and end up swimming into it, or flip-turning too far away from it to push off.  It’s become frustrating knowing that I am one of the few swimmers now that I work out with that can comfortably flip-turn.   This is causing me grief.

I would consol myself that there is ‘No flip-turn in triathlon’, and it therefore really did nothing to enhance my swim technique at all.  However, now that I’m beginning to hold up others at the ends of the pool, I am now rethinking this whole philosophy.  As I still regularly train in a pool, improving the speed of my turns will only help me keep that continuity from one length to the next. A flip-turn (even a bad one) is on average far quicker than an open turn. By getting in and out of the wall quickly, there is no resting between lengths and I should be able to improve my swimming endurance.  And besides looking cool, flip-turns are more efficient and will allow me to spend more of my work out time swimming.

So in effort to improve I have scouted out this lesson plan to slip into my weekly swim workout occasionally to help me be a more efficient flip-turner.  Likewise, if you experience similar flip-turn issues, perhaps this lesson plan might assist you also.

  • Swim 100m with your best effort at a flip-turn.
  • Standing somersaults: tucking tightly, keeping straight, and tucking head while keeping your knees together.
  • Push-offs: toes up on wall, knees bent at 90 degree angle (power position), allow yourself to ‘sink’ under the water prior to pushing off (avoiding ‘surface tension’ resistance) on back in streamline position.
  • Push-off on back with a twist onto front (glide 2-3m).
  • Jump-turns: stop on wall with toes pointing up, looking at feet, feet planted firmly on wall.
    • 2-3 strokes into wall: stop on wall, as above.
    • 4 x 25m (finish each 25m as above).
  • Jump-turns into push off: ensure push-off is on back.
    • 2-3 strokes into wall + push-off: ensure push off is on back.
  • Jump-turns into push-off + twist onto front.
    • 2-3 strokes into wall + push-off plus twist onto front.
  • Jump-turns into wall + push-off into backstroke swim.
    • 2-3 strokes into wall + push-off into backstroke swim.
  • Jump-turns into wall + twist onto front and 1-2 strokes front.
    • 2-3 strokes into wall + twist onto front and 1-2 strokes front.
    • Swim 10m swim approach + full turn and 10m return swim.
    • Swim 50m with flip turn at wall.
  • Swim plus somersault drill, somersault every 7 strokes (2 X 50M?)
  • ‘Missing wall’ drill, flip-turn at 10m and return to wall. Ensure use of kick to regain momentum.
  1. […] the positive side I am beginning to get the hang of doing flip-turns.  I have been working on my flip-turn clinic when I have the opportunity and I have even completed a few 200m and 400m sets managing only […]

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