FINIS Tip Of The Week: Faster Flip Turns!

Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

The tip for this week focuses on developing faster and more efficient flip turns. Your time around the walls, particularly in short course swimming, can either provide an advantage or be one more thing you have to fight against to get to the finish. You have countless opportunities every practice to work on your flip turns, so try to keep these things in mind to avoid just going through the motions and instead make your walls an advantage!

Approach The Wall With SPEED

Heading into your flipturn, the last thing you want to do is to slow down. Too often swimmers get into the habit of seeing the wall as a “break” in their swim where they can rest and reset for the next length. That thinking is actually counterintuitive — slowing down on the wall only means you have to work harder after each turn to get back to the speed you had going into the turn.  

Instead, think about speeding up going into the wall, initiating the press into your flip through the end of your final stroke to whip yourself around to the wall. This is more a matter of timing that expending extra energy (meaning there is no reason not to be thinking about it on every turn in practice!), and when done correctly you should feel like you came out of a slingshot into the wall.

Lead With Your Head

Speaking of the press in your flipturn, make sure you are initiating the press and tuck into the turn from your head and following down the kinetic chain. A mistake many swimmers make is focusing just on bringing their feet around, neglecting how they are pushing through with their shoulder, chest, and hips.

As you initiate your flipturn, you should think about pressing first with the head, then the shoulders, and then bending at the waist. This succession should generate enough momentum that your legs and feet should feel like they are getting sucked around toward the wall while setting you up for a strong push off as soon as your feet are on the wall.

Don’t Sit On The Wall!

Now, you’ve set yourself up for a great turn, approaching the wall with speed and getting your body through the turn quickly, so don’t lose all of that by just sitting on the wall! The second your feet make contact with the wall you should jump off, limiting any opportunity for you to slow down.

A few key things to set yourself up for a strong push off: keep your legs hip width distance apart (like you were performing a squat jump), push through the balls of your feet, and keep your core engaged to stay tight as you blast off of the wall. Happy swimming!

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

 

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. Jason Hite

    Christopher Gurski Víctor Antoñón Rodríguez

    • Christopher Gurski

      It‘s a rumor that we are slow at turns, Zavaneli is slow

  2. avatar
    AfterShock

    Rotating around a single point of the core will provide the fastest flip turn. Pressing first with the head, then the shoulders, and then bending at the waist result in a soft, slow turn with no snap.

Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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