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Nancy H.

There's more to life than flip turns (now categorized!)

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by , January 26th, 2010 at 11:13 AM (703 Views)
Class last night went well. Two lanes were tied up with people doing the hour swim, so I was in a shallow lane with two other women. Not a huge problem, but under the circumstances, flip turns were just not possible. One, I hate flipping in shallow water (it seriously feels like the shallow side of our pool is up to my knees); two, I hate flipping when I'm worrying about colliding with other swimmers.

So I focused more on stroke technique: wide arms, smooth hand entry, "catching" the water, pulling with high elbows to utilize a bigger surface area (elbow, forearm, hand). Feels a bit wonky, but definitely contributes to a more powerful stroke. I also tried to utilize body roll more, so that I'm not over-taxing the smaller muscles of my arms and shoulders. Started out okay, but this grew harder as the workout wore on. Still, I'm getting there, and I can feel the difference it makes when I get a good body roll going.

Not as much time for backstroke, so I focused on a good, tight streamline and DKs off each wall, as well as clean hand exit/ entry on the strokes. Also trying to really "reach/ stretch" into each stroke. Again, this is easier at the start of the workout than at the end when muscle fatigue has set in. Still, not bad, considering Sunday's yardage monster, followed by six hours' sleep. GAAAH! I really need to get to bed earlier! Night Owl, that's me.

Also, I made it a point to stretch really thoroughly right before bed, and I woke up with far fewer aches and pains this morning. Who'dve thunk?

I try to tell myself to stop fretting over flip turns. With enough time and practice, I'm sure they'll improve and hopefully become second nature. I have to remind myself continually that less than six months ago, I couldn't even somersault in the water, so for me to have a semi-consistent flip turn is pretty darned good. I should also focus on other areas of swimming, as I did last night.

One thing I'd like to do is make my freestyle open turns smoother. I was watching a classmate last night, who has very smooth, efficient open turns. I think mastering this skill would make me feel like I'm at least turning efficiently when (for whatever reason) the flips just aren't happening. Besides, it's nice to have several skills in the old repertoire.
Dang, I really need to remember to check off a category when I post!

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Comments

  1. aztimm's Avatar
    As someone who learned flip turns as an adult (I was 24 at the time), I can say it takes patience and practice. I went through similar frustrations, where I'd just do open turns, and work on my stroke. That's good for a break, as how you go into and out of a turn make the turn that much easier.

    I mostly learned on my own, from books and magazines (the Internet was a far cry then from what it is today). A lifeguard at a pool I swam at really helped, and she gave some great advice--do as much swimming as you can with a turn, then stop. I began with 50s, sometimes needing 30 sec or more break. Then I gradually built up, adding a 25 at a time. It took about a year and a half (off/on swimming, grad school and a semester in Japan got in the way) before I'd say I was comfortable with them. Heck, in a new pool I still like to scope out the depth and marker placement (should be uniform but not always) before I'll do some fast turns.

    Now I do flip turns without even really thinking, and have done a mile or more without worry. Sure they're not 100% perfect, but they work, and my coaches give tips on how to improve them. Since I learned later in life, it isn't as ingrained in me like some of my strokes that I learned at 4 or 5.
  2. Nancy H.'s Avatar
    AZtimm, Thanks so much for the feedback and advice. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has experienced frustration with learning this skill (or any new skill, really). I LOL'd a little re: "scoping out" new pools--I always feel awkward/ uncomfortable in a different pool until I've done at least a few laps--no matter what kind of turns I'm using!