View Full Version : Lost (or temporarily misplaced?) flip turn...

July 27th, 2005, 11:52 PM
If you happen to see it, please tell it to phone home... ;)


I am new at swim workouts and only recently (in May) learned to do flip turns.

Tonight I was just doing an easy swim and getting in some practice doing the turns, which were going fine. I alternated them w/ open turns (not comfortable w/ flip turns in the shallow section, but that's a whole other thread). Also didn't do them every single time in the deep section, but for the most part, when I did them, they went fine. They weren't beautiful, but they were flip turns.

Then I started one, and for some reason came out of the tuck before I could make the turn. I was doing this deep dive right next to the wall, and it totally unnerved me--not to mention gave me a painful leg cramp which I managed to stretch out. At first, i was just going to leave it at open turns for the rest of the swim, but I didn't want to leave feeling defeated, so I tried again a couple more times, got something that looked marginally "flip turn-ish"--but I'd start the turn too far from the wall, and the flip wasn't quite right. They seemed more like my first attempts when I couldn't get them right--before my coach worked with me on them. (He's away for the summer, so I'm working pretty much on my own now until the fall when the masters' group starts back up again).

Then I thought I'd try one more time (swim was almost over by this time) and got that same totally mangled turn deteriorating into dive that I mentioned above--again w/ the leg cramp. At this point, I decided to call it a night. My concern is that I've gotten too spooked and that next time I swim, I'll have the same problem. But obviously, it's important to keep one's focus positive and not let this incident throw me. The lifeguard (a serious swimmer herself) said she thought it might be tiredness. Could be... or stress.

Another time during a practice, a team-mate noticed that I seemed to tense up just before the end of the pool, and I think she has a point. I know that when I see the "T" that marks the end of the lane line--especially if I've decided to flip turn, there's this moment of fear--I got to where I was able to slip past that fear, have tried to relax, remember what my coach told me, stay focused on that. But the fear is always there. I see people dong flip turns so easily, so seamlessly, and for me, they still feel foreign, even tho less than before. But tonight, I felt like a complete beginner again after that one turn gone bad.

Your suggestions welcome!

July 28th, 2005, 12:10 AM
I lost mine in 1964 and have been hunting for it for 41 years. I sometimes get a glimpse at it but it seems to get away all the time.

July 28th, 2005, 12:43 AM
I've been getting back in the pool recently after a 5 year absence with the aim of joining my university team this fall. I was relieved to find out that my flip turn was mostly still intact.


I still have issues where I'll occasionaly turn too far to the wall or too close and will end up either in the turn too long (from being soo close), or without a very good pushoff (from being too far).

By far though, I've found that my turns suffer the most when I'm thinking a lot. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. If my mind is all over the place or I'm focusing too much on how to complete the turn it always ends up worse off than if I'm just concentrating on other aspects of my stroke or not really thinking at all. So one of the things I suggest is to try to focus on other things when you're approaching the wall. Don't focus on the T at the bottom of the pool and the fact that you're about to hurtle yourself into a summersault at a tile wall while swimming. If you can make the turn into an instinct you'll have a much easier time of it and will eventually be able to confidentaly turn even in the shallow areas.

I remember when I did agegroup swimming that my coach would give us different things to do to improve our flip turns.

Sometimes we'd do a set of 50s where we'd go to the middle of the lane, and start swimming towards one wall. We'd flip at that wall, do a complete lap comming back and flip at the final wall, and then finish the 50 in the middle of the pool again. This allowed us to get two solid turns into a 50. Other times we'd go to just past the flags and just work on swimming towards the wall and turning, stopping at the flags and then repeating.

So I guess what'd I'd suggest is:

Try to focus on other things while going into a turn, and try to to make the turns instinctive. And don't think too much while turning, or spend too long in the turn itself.

Replace a set of normal 50's in your workout with a set of mid-pool 50's to give yourself an extra turn.

At the end of a workout, or during a drills section, spend some time going from just past the flags into a turn and out again.

July 28th, 2005, 07:39 AM
Geochuck, maybe my flip turn and yours found each other! ;)


great tips, thanks! And you hit it right on the head with this:

"the fact that you're about to hurtle yourself into a summersault at a tile wall while swimming."

It puts a name on what gets me nervous--and makes me aware that it's not an unreasonable or unusual thing to be nervous about--and that there are ways to address it.

When learning the flip turn, I'd do that swimming out to the flags, turn, swim back to the flags. But that idea about starting 50s mid-pool sounds like a plan too.

Guess the best thing to do is not stress over it...it'll come back....unless it's off somewhere with Geochuck's flip turn and they're having too much fun together. ;)

July 28th, 2005, 10:58 AM
I hate flip turns. Even when I was swimming competitively, I would do open turns in anything longer than 200 yards. Now that I don't race in pools, I skip them altogther.

During water polo practise during my senior year of high school, I even managed to sprain my ankle in the turn. I think that's the main reason I don't like them.

July 28th, 2005, 11:07 AM
Flip turns are the only thing that makes swimmign really fun. I love to flip next to people who are swimming slowly.

July 28th, 2005, 11:11 AM
I'm with Craig. You can't compete effectively unless you can flip. I have a training partner who is faster than me swimming but her flips aren't as strong and that's the only way I can (sometimes) keep up with her. You can shave a whole lot more time off your swim by improving turns than you can with little stroke tweaks here and there.

July 28th, 2005, 12:25 PM
But put yourself out in a lake, and that ability to flip turn is useless. :)

The problem I always have is that I end up pushing off too deep in the water, and stay under longer. This gets me out of breath pretty quick, and after a few laps it slows me down.

July 28th, 2005, 12:33 PM
Yes, no need for a flip turn in a lake, or ocean, for that matter.

However, unless you only swim in lakes or oceans you really should develop a flip turn. It is easier than the open turn and a good flip turn means less stroking.

July 28th, 2005, 01:44 PM
Wish I were near enough to an ocean or lake for more open water stuff, but deepest water conveniently located is a creek (very nice for soaking my feet after a run, but a bit problematic, as it's knee deep at its deepest, for flip turns). ;)

I actually got to enjoy them--just that experience last night got me all spooked about them. I really enjoy watching a good swimmer who can do them easily, turning the swim into an endless loop. That's what I aspire to, but not there yet. I had one of those "golden moments" when I got my first one right! It was as if I had opened a door on something--I have come a ways....when I first started w/ my group, I couldn't get the sommersault right, let alone the flip turn. I credit a very patient and very encouraging coach for my progress. Can't wait til he returns in the fall!

July 28th, 2005, 01:48 PM
There are a bunch of flip turn drills that can help you. Have your coach work with you on them.

July 28th, 2005, 02:20 PM
Flip turns are one of my favorite parts of swimming. As somebody mentioned above, one of my favorite things to do is flip hard and fast (read, big splash) next to somebody hanging on the gutter. It is also a lot of fun to do a fast flip turn next to somebody who does them at a more sedate pace. Flip turns were meant to be fast people! If you can do an open turn faster than the flip then why bother with the flip?

July 28th, 2005, 02:43 PM
I guess I will have to start working on them again. I'll be in the pool in about an hour, so life is good. The only thing good about starting work at 4:45 is that I will be out early enough to enjoy the day... And take a nice nap in the shade somwhere after I swim.

July 28th, 2005, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
Flip turns are the only thing that makes swimmign really fun. I love to flip next to people who are swimming slowly.

:) :) :)

A good flip turn can get you your own lane in a crowded pool. It can intimidate the squeamish. It can demoralize someone who otherwise would be a fair match to your abilities.

And my favorite of all -- on Saturday mornings they take 2 or 3 lanes for kiddie lessons. Parents (in street clothes) crowd all around the walls of the natorium to watch their little tykes. The ones unlucky enough to have chosen wall space at either end of my lane find that they will have to move -- or get soaked.

Once I was swimming laps at an outdoor pool in the summer. It was a horribly hot day. Suddenly the lifeguard blew the whistle. "Adult swim! All kids out of the pool!!" I was allowed to continue my laps. Once when I stopped I noticed that there were kids crowded at both ends of my lane. I just thought they were waiting to jump back in at the end of adult swim. My wife later told me that they were gathering at those two spots to catch the splash from my turns. Kind of the opposite effect of the parents thing in the previous paragraph.

July 28th, 2005, 04:51 PM
To respond to the initial post in this thread, check out this link:

Flip turn video (http://www.goswim.tv/drilloftheweek_comments.php?id=979_0_20_0_C)

July 28th, 2005, 05:03 PM
Go out to the middle of the pool. Take a few strokes and do your turn before you get to the flags. Focus on flipping your arms up over your head. This will allow you to flip faster and keep you in your tuck a little longer. By doing so, it keeps you from pushing off too deep (when you go back to the wall). Once you get your confidence back, just swim into the wall and do the turn. You're cured!

July 28th, 2005, 05:45 PM
A splashy flip turn (one not intended for intimidation) is inefficient. I find it even more fun to do a nice calm flip and smoke those swimmers who feel creating a colossal tsunami on a flip is the correct way to execute.

July 28th, 2005, 06:05 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Guvnah
[B]:) :) :)

A good flip turn can get you your own lane in a crowded pool. It can intimidate the squeamish. It can demoralize someone who otherwise would be a fair match to your abilities.

Excellent! You're never going faster in a race than the start (dive) or pushing off the wall, so make the most of your forward motion.

July 28th, 2005, 09:06 PM
Start at the flags and count your strokes to the wall. When exactly to turn will be a matter of personal preference. Do it until it becomes automatic and visualize yourself executing the maneuver perfectly.

Practice, practice, practice, and your ability will speak for itself. You should never have to do anything on deck or in the pool to intimidate, demoralize, or psych anyone else out.

July 29th, 2005, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
A splashy flip turn (one not intended for intimidation) is inefficient. I find it even more fun to do a nice calm flip and smoke those swimmers who feel creating a colossal tsunami on a flip is the correct way to execute.

It's not the splash. It's the spray. The faster your feet go around, the farther your spray goes. (And the faster your feet go around, the sooner they are on the wall to start pushin off.)

July 29th, 2005, 01:21 PM

Yes, you are entirely correct. I was referring to those who feel the higher they get their legs out of the water (and the resulting splash) is the correct way to flip, by causing some sort of aquatic rucus.

July 29th, 2005, 01:23 PM
I prefer flippin hamburgers. I still like my little tumble turn over the flip turn. No splash, feet are in position for a great push off, no twisting during the push.

July 31st, 2005, 12:34 AM
Thanks everyone for your comments! The helpful and the entertaining! Just back from out of town trip so only getting a chance to look these over now.

Very helpful advice and some interesting takes on the "flip turn to instill respect"! I get a splashy flip-turner in an adjoining lane every so often. Maybe in response to my slow flip turns and open turns. But even so, he's pretty nice to me when we happen to pause fr/ our workouts. My goal is to make my flip turns so integral a part of my swim that they'll feel like second nature, so I don't worry if someone's intimidated or not.