Wasted movement in the water unquestionably reduces your chances of making a podium finish. To help you keep your turns as efficient as possible, we hit up Russell Mark, biomechanics coordinator for USA Swimming. He instructs how to make perfect freestyle flip-turns and explains the effect they have on your precious time.
"Besides the start, pushing off the wall is the fastest a swimmer will go during a race," Mark says. "Having a good flip-turn means you begin each length at your optimal speed."
Follow Mark's flip-turn tips to help you glide by competitors.
Judge how far away the wall is by looking at the T at the bottom of the pool
Approaching the wall with as much speed as possible, begin your turn where you know you can plant your feet and get an effective push after the flip
Tuck chin to chest, bend at waist and bring heels to butt, so your body is in a ball
Using arms to propel your turn, flip legs straight over top of body. Make sure you're not leaning to either side
Open body halfway through flip, extend legs and plant balls of feet on wall, shoulder-width apart
Explosively push off wall by starting with your knees bent about 90 degrees
Streamline entire body, then roll back onto belly
Begin kicking immediately
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