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Swimming Open Turns for Swimmers

The Basics of a Swimming Open Turn


Updated January 22, 2012
If you are swimming in a pool and reach the wall, what do you do? The most obvious thing to do is stop, call it a workout, climb out and head for the showers (I'd call that a finish). But if you swim more than one lap, turning is inevitable. What is the best way to change directions? That depends on what best means for you. In this case, it might be the one that stays within the rules, or maybe is the quickest, simplest, or the most restful way to head back where you came from. You can make this choice for yourself based on what you are trying to achieve.

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 Turns

Competitive 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 On!

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