Flip Turn

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25/11/2013 at 20:30

Hi all,

I have mastered my swimming endurance and can do lap after lap of a 50m pool without stopping (thanks for the advice guys, it's all about relaxing and no thinking about it too much!).

I really really want to master the flip turn. My problem is that I have done martial arts for most of my life which encourages you to flip (in a throw) with a leading shoulder. This reflects that when I try and flip turn I throw my right shoulder and go off in a funny direction. I try really hard to get my bum over head but water ends ups rushing up my nose (probs because I am concentrating on the flip and not exhaling!) any tips on how to roll straight? I see 11 year olds doing this perfectly, how can I not master it!


25/11/2013 at 20:33
You do know that a tumble turn is not allowed at most pool triathlons ?
25/11/2013 at 20:37

yea, but it looks cool

25/11/2013 at 20:41
Ok... I prefer to practise what I will use in a race, rather than something I won't
25/11/2013 at 20:50

I am a newbie to Tri, enjoying the process and improving. not competitively yet as I don't have a proper bike (poor student). So working on everything individually and casually before I hit comps. Sorry if it's the wrong place to post.

25/11/2013 at 21:03
Not the wrong place to post at all

But why spend time practicing something you won't use ? You don't spend time running 400 m hurdles ( well I suppose you might)

I practice turning in the same way I will in a race.

You have a bike ? So you can do a tri !
25/11/2013 at 21:07

You risk being DQ'd if you do a tumble turn which is why it has been suggested that you don't bother practicing it. Save your energy getting the stroke right, plus if you did you do open water swim there are no walls to turn off.


PSC    pirate
25/11/2013 at 21:08
It's fun to do and builds good breath control. You can't do it in a race but who cares. Tumble turns are cool as f#%k!
seren nos    pirate
25/11/2013 at 21:16

there are races that do allow it .......so you lot shouldn't generalise .......and if it makes training more fun for the guy then why not...

I can't advise you as i can't do them and I'm shit at swimming......sorry 

25/11/2013 at 21:18

Dave The Ex-Spartan-   I have a mountain bike, which is pretty heavy. I am pretty competitive so I want a decent set of wheels to do myself justice. I graduate next year, first pay packet is going on a racing bike!


SteadyCJ- I get what you mean, I suppose I just like feeling like a pro!

PSC- Any tips?

25/11/2013 at 21:26

You just have to practice it Dibs.  How about doing forward rolls on a padded floor.  You'd have to go straight over with your head between your shoulders doing that and that's what you need to practice to get it right!  

As for the water going up your nose, that happens to everyone!  Just exhale, through your nose, as you turn.

If you're doing tumble turns in lanes in the pool remember to keep your eyes open for the person swimming directly behind you, or forewarn them.  You might inadvertently end up nutting them otherwise!

Good luck!

25/11/2013 at 22:52

The thing that helped me work this out was the advice from a swim coach at my club; I was going in leading with an arm out that caused me to rotate to the side too much. Instead he got me to practice swimming to the wall with my arms by my side and then to initiate the tumble to bring my hands up against my chest. So imagine keeping your elbows by your side and then bringing your hands up to your face / chest in one swift movement, put your chin down and over you go. The bit I still struggle with is getting a good foot plant on the wall.


TBH, I got to a point where I could do them ok but I was focussing more on the turns than the strokes between them. Pretty much stopped using them now, but nice to be able to do them now and again. 

Blisters    pirate
25/11/2013 at 23:16

I have tried, but am crap at them.

My issue is judging the correct point at which to tuck under. I've consistently been finishing the roll, yet been too far away to get a push!

I didn't know that they were banned in most places on race day.

Like anything in swimming, done well they are a thing of beauty, with no splashing, just the merest "plop". However, most people make the sound of the John Smiths bomber, "plodooosh". Have somone video your turn, so you can see the little bits that don't look right.

TheEngineer    pirate
26/11/2013 at 08:49

Agree with doing them if you want to do them. Sure you won't do them in a race, but who cares? In my experience you have the added bonus of reducing prevalence of cramp in the legs caused by pushing off using a large ROM employed in an open turn (but for this I guess YMMV)

26/11/2013 at 09:19

tumble turns need practice, practice and more practice until they become second nature. I can do them but not very well but when I get it right it feels so gooooood....

what I haven't mastered yet is the art of doing them with a pullbuoy - that usually ends up popping out of my legs as I clearly split them to tumble - most good swimmers don't.   

as has been said, you won't use them in (most) pool tris but there's no harm using them in training

26/11/2013 at 09:35

Ghostess - under BTF rules, tumble turns aren't specifically banned in pool tris but most Race Directors don't allow them as it can be a recipe for chaos when you have lots of people in the pool of differing swim abilities.    a non-tumble turn also gives an athlete a bit more time to survey what's happening and if someone is coming up fast allow them to stop at the wall to let that person past.

once you get to the faster swimmers, then some RDs do allow tumbles but by then most slower, non-tumblers will not be in the water so it's more manageable.

I've yet to DQ a good swimmer for doing a tumble turn in a pool tri - but I guess there might be a 1st time in the future!!

26/11/2013 at 09:59

Thanks guys, I shall give all suggestions a go tomorrow. I can usually get a pretty good foot plant on the fall, but that is just one foot because I have turned on an angle. the leading arm suggestion seems like a sound one, I think I do end on a right handed stroke and role throwing my right shoulder. worth a practice!


will keep posted!

26/11/2013 at 10:25

Check out Paul Newsome's tips here: http://www.swimsmoothforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=164

I found the quickest improvement for me came from practising tumbles standing still away from the wall. Once you get that feeling right tumble turns get much easier.

26/11/2013 at 11:44

I remember learning them at school, we often found ourselves in our pj's rescuing rubber bricks from the floor of the deep end, we told that a good dive down while in the water is like doing a forward roll before straightening out into the dive position to rescue the poor brick, so we all practiced forward rolls in the water which also lead to tumble turns, we had a big lad in our class who was very good at them but would often get a bolloking as he would often soak the teacher while executing his tumble as his large surface area would remove a good percentage of the pool onto the teachers flip-flops and tracky bottoms ha ha, happy days

Doozer.    pirate
26/11/2013 at 14:06

ive been able to tumble turn for ages, but it has only been in the last six months that I do it all the time.  The benefit of doing them is it makes you go hypoxic for a bit so helps to increase your swim fitness.  Will feel horrible to start with and the timing is the hardest thing to get right.  Be prepared to come up to soon, miss the wall, water up your nose etc

Practice just sommersulting in the pool without a wall, get use to that then progress to the wall and plant your feet, push off on your back and turn after. Dont try and twist before pushing off, remember to accelarate in to the wall as more speed makes it easier

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