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