In the first issue of USMS Swimmer magazine I actually liked the Freestyle Open Turns article. I have perfected my own freestyle turn where I can beat most flip turn people. Note I said most. Having a great flip turn is an awesome advantage to fast freestylers. But that leaves me out.
A good open turn allows me to get a good breathe, VERY important for someone with asthma. It also allows me to get in a perfect streamline and push off about 7 to 8 yards before the first stroke. I also have a bad wing, so taking less strokes per lap means I can sleep at night.
But now to be critical, looking at pages 18 and 19 there are several minor flaws in this "Competitive Butterfly Turn". My concern is that both new and older swimmers will think this is the "perfect" butterfly turn, and it is not.
Let me state that I feel the fastest competitive butterfly and breaststroke turn is actually done where you change from being on your front to immediately going on your back!
Let me explain, the rules simply say that on butterfly and breaststroke turns you must be "101.2.4—Turns
The shoulders must be at or past the vertical toward the breast when the swimmer leaves the wall ".
Note key works, Shoulders, vertical and wall. It does not say you must have the entire body facing downwards, as new swimmers often think.
Going on to the magazine article, pages 18 and 19, I agree on the feet position shown in 2 B.
Ever see a new swimmer try the butterfly or breast turn, and they stay completely on the waters surface and throw their entire body sideways until they can push off again on their stomachs? SLOW! It takes time to move your body to the side, even more time to move the body to the same "breast" position.
The swimmer in 2 C and 2 D clearly show the swimmer has taken the time to turn the body 90 degrees to the waters surface. This means he has to twist his body just one more degree "past the vertical towards the breast" to satisfy the rules.
What would have been about two tenths faster would have been to turn from "on the breast" in butterfly and breaststroke to immediately throw the head back and pull the legs up, effectively turning onto your back. This is just faster than turing onto your side first.
Now that you have gone from butterfly to on your back, just like in figure 2D the bottom arm both pulls your body underwater and allows the upper body to twist. All you have to do is twist your shoulders that 90 degrees to satisfy the rule book. Your body momentum will continue the twisting until you are completely on the breast.
Most coaches prefer the feet to point not at 90 degrees as in 2D, but to be pointed at an angle between 20 and 45 degrees from vertical, nearly pointing to the waters surface!
Note that you must have gone past vertical before the feet leaves to wall. There was a great woman swimmer who lost a Gold medal from the Olympics, she was disqualified in trials because she did not bother to go past vertical until after her feet passed the "T" on the bottom of the pool.
With practice this "Stanford" turn is between 2 and 5 tenths of a second faster than standard turns. The reason I call it the Stanford turn is former World Record holder John Moffett taught it to me in the 80s, and at that time not a lot of other schools used this style. Look at swimmers from the Olympics and NCAA's and you will see this turn 90 % of the time in butterfly and breaststroke.
Now to my last observation. Figure 2E shows the swimmer in what I call the old style Superman streamline, with the head looking slightly forwards. This style has the biceps next to the ears and the hands either next to each other or placed on top of each other.
The modern streamline can gain one to two YARDS more distance for ZERO extra effort. It starts with the swimmers head ALWAYS looking at the bottom of the pool. The biceps are behind the head as the shoulders are squeezed together. This allows the body with as measured at the shoulders to decrease several inches.
The KEY to this streamline is to lock the top hands thumb over the bottom hands little fingure, and push this locked hands forwards.
This makes the body longer in length and smaller in diameter.
For those of you who taped the Olympics or will be taping the NCAAs, you will see this streamline in most of the better swimmers.
More information on turns and streamlines can be found at www.breaststroke.info.
Coach Wayne McCauley
ASCA Level 5 Masters