By Fitness Intern Andrea Aronsen, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
The first part of the flip turn to discuss is coming into the wall. Along the bottom of the lane is a black line with a T at the end near the wall. This T marks that you are about 2 feet away from the wall and should begin prepping your flip turn. Generally speaking, the last stroke will be taken over the T (you may need to test this to see if this works for you). After your last stroke you should be horizontal at the surface of the water, arms at your sides, looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.
Next comes the flip! The most important part of the flip is to continue to breath out your nose they entire time! If you forget to do this you will end up choking on some pool water which is never a good thing. So continue to breathe out your nose while you flip to keep water out! One description that has stuck with me after all my years of swimming is that you are “chasing your legs.” Once you are in the horizontal position tuck your chin to your chest to initiate the rotation, and then fold at the waist as if you were going to chase your legs as you whip them over above you. The smaller you get when you fold over the faster you will flip. Many swimmers who are new to flip turns will try to use their arms to “spin” them around faster. In reality however, using your arms actually slows you down! Your hands should stay pointing towards the opposite end of the pool at all times so that when you complete the flip they are up by your ears ready for streamline position.
Once you have completed the flip you should be on your back, arms next to your ears, feet planted on the wall shoulder width apart (slightly skewed from pointing straight up, in the direction that you will roll to get back on to your stomach), and knees bent at about 90 degrees. Press your arms into a streamline, squeezing your ears as tightly as possible, making an arrow to cut through the water. Explosively press of the wall with your legs, rotating your body back over to your stomach as you dolphin kick back to the surface.
Begin by practicing and mastering each part of the flip turn before combining them together. Soon you will be looking like a seasoned pro as you swim your continuous laps with your newly mastered flip turn. If you feel like you need more help contact one of the swim instructors on the staff or that aquatics director Teresa Nelson.