Let’s learn how to turn

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 3 October '17 0
You are reading: Let’s learn how to turn

Just as important as working on your technical swimming skills, it is vital there is almost no break while performing turns for  a training session to be really effective.

In order to perfect this technique, let’s take a look at methods involving a somersault turn or, in other words, the freestyle and backstroke.

The rule is simple for freestyle: you must touch the wall the end of the pool with any part of your body as you make your turn.

Obviously touching it with your hand and then placing your feet against the wall to push off is much slower than a somersault turn, so let’s take a closer look at this technique.


– Swim up to the wall checking the black line on the bottom of the pool; when you reach the T (or one stroke after that, depending on your height and speed) perform a ½ stroke and leave one hand extended along your side.

At the same time, bend your neck forwards so that your chin is closer to your chest, place your other arm along your side and rotate the palms of your hands upwards.

Helping yourself by pushing your hands upwards, perform a somersault by bending down with your chest and bringing your knees up towards your stomach. As you do this, rotate your body sideways so that you are in something more like a prone position.

Place your feet against the wall, push forwards to complete the rotation, keep your arms well extended in front of you and your head tucked between your shoulders.

Kick with your legs, come up to the surface and swim without breathing during your first arm stroke.

The backstroke turn is very similar to what has just been described with a few differences due to the rules and the fact this you are swimming on your back. This means you will have to:

Use the flags (5 m) to check how far from the wall you are.

Once you have reached the flag, after 4-5 strokes rotate 180° around yourself drawing on the inertia from the overhead movement of your arm stroke.

Without moving, slide until you reach the right position to turn and perform a somersault (without rotating around the vertical axis of your body)

Place your feet against the wall and, still lying on your back, push off the wall keeping your arms well extended out in front and your head tucked between your shoulders.

Perform 2-3 butterfly leg kicks, come up to the surface and swim.

The turn is the transition point between two separate laps of the pool and it should take as little time as possible so that the smooth flow of your swimming is not interrupted.


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arena coaches

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