To simplify things, we'll separate turns into "open" and "flip" turns. Open turns involve touching the wall with your hand(s), then reversing direction - you probably get a breath of air during the turn. Flip turns involve a somersault as you approach the wall; you would normally only touch the wall with your feet as you push off - unless you have gills or a scuba tank, you don't get any extra air.
Open TurnsCompetitive use: Breaststroke, Butterfly, and Individual Medley when switching strokes.Training: same as competitive, plus any other time you need to get more air or do something "different."
Open turns are generally the easiest to perform - although doing them smooth and fast requires a lot of practice, just like everything else. The rough version: move towards the wall on your belly (not for backstroke - but more about that later), touch the wall with your hand(s), twist and roll onto your side while swinging your legs up to the wall, push off on your side, then roll towards your belly as your feet leave the wall (again, not for backstroke).
Step by step ideas on page two.
More on Swimming Turns:
- Swim Turns, Part 1 - Open Turns
- Swim Turns, Part 2 - More Open Turns
- Swim Turns, Part 3 - Breakouts or Surfacing
- Swim Turns, Part 4 - Freestyle Flip Turn Basics
- Swim Turns, Part 5 - More on Freestyle Flip Turns
- Swim Turns, Part 6 - Backstroke Flip Turn Basics