Swimming Turn Techniques

To avoid expending excessive energy while swimming, you can become more efficient by learning swimming turn techniques. Learning proper turn techniques will make your swim less strenuous. The two basic types of turn techniques are the open turn and the flip turn.

  1. The Open Turn Technique. This turn is primarily used for breaststroke and butterfly, but can also be used for freestyle until the flip turn is mastered. Glide towards the wall. Begin by swimming at full speed towards the wall. Once you are about three to five feet away from the wall, extend both arms like superman and kick one last time. Glide until your hands reach the wall. Grab the wall with both hands at the same time. At this point, your body should be fully extended and parallel with the bottom of the pool. Pull your knees to your chest and place the balls of your feet against the wall. Make sure your knees are near your chest and your head remains tucked. You will now be in a full tuck position, still facing the wall. Pull your left elbow down towards your side as if you are pulling the lever on an old-fashioned slot machine. For now, make sure to keep your right hand on the wall.  Now take your right hand off the wall and bring it up and over your head, as if to slick your hair back. Gradually turn your upper body to the left. Your feet should still be on the wall. Push off. As you turn to the left, bring your hands together over your head, placing them on top of each other. Keep your hands together and straighten your arms above your head, forming a streamline.  Once your upper body is straight, extend your legs as you push off the wall. Hold your streamline until you reach the surface. Return to swimming whichever stroke you swam into the wall. You have now completed the open turn technique.
  2. The Flip Turn Technique. The flip turn is slightly more advanced than the open turn. The flip turn is used for freestyle and backstroke. Here, the freestyle flip turn is explained. If you have trouble keeping water out of your nose, try humming whenever you are upside down. Glide towards the wall. Take one last stroke when you are about three to five feet from the wall. Since you are now swimming freestyle, you will have one arm at your side while one is still reaching above your head. About two feet from the wall, pull both hands to your side and maintain eye contact with the wall. Be careful not to hit your head!With palms turned up, pull your hands toward the surface and tuck your head towards the bottom of the pool. You can also kick one last time for extra propulsion. Flip. The force of pulling your hands skyward should be great enough to propel your entire body into a complete summersault (if this step is too difficult, you can practice from a standing position in shallow water until you get the hang of it). Get into a streamline position. After you flip, you should be on your back with the balls of your feet up against the wall. Fully extend your arms above your head and make sure you keep your hands together. Push off. Gradually turn to your front. Make a streamline with straight arms, push off the wall and return to freestyle. You have now completed the flip swimming turn technique. 
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