Torpedo School 2: Learn to Turn

By Adam Palmer and Rosalie Palmer

In Sports Applications, Swimming

June 12, 2014

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Minimizing time spent at the wall is essential in swimming events. By mastering the open and flip turns, you can save energy and shave seconds off lap times.

One of the simplest ways to improve times in the pool is to develop streamlines and turns.

Turns are relatively easy to practice, meaning athletes can perform many repetitions without fatigue, and at some point the swimmer will be forced to turn many times during normal practice sessions anyway. The correct attitude is to look at each turn as an opportunity to improve upon the previous one.

Great turns can have a dramatic effect on race performance. Observe the third heat of The Pool event at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games. If you pay attention to experienced swimmers Matt Chan and Jordan Troyan, you may notice how their use of the flip turn allows them to accelerate back to race speed efficiently following the turn.

Troyan, an All-American swimmer at West Chester University, used a flip turn throughout the event and was able to use a powerful push to streamline about a third of the 25-yard pool. He won the event by more than 20 seconds, and observing his timing and technique will help you improve your own turns in the water.

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