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Top tips for Perfecting Turns

Flipping, turning and rotating uses every single muscle in your body, and that is what is needed to maximise your turns, for each stroke. Each stroke has specific rules and directional positions, which are covered in the below top tips for turns.

Let’s talk turns for each stroke:

Freestyle: The fastest way to change direction at the wall with our freestyle is a tumble turn. This is where we start our somersault with our head going down and bottom up in our tuck position (knees bent and at our chest, head and chin close to the knees). The straightening our legs while we push off the wall in our streamline position. It takes less time to turn over after we push off the wall then rolling over at the wall. A lot of close races can be won with a really efficient tumble turns!


Backstroke:Turns for backstroke is similar to freestyle, with our swim starting on our back. Counting the strokes from the flags is essential for a correct and safe turn at the wall. In a 50m race rolling onto the front for the turn is permitted as long as the legs do not kick, and only one arm assists with the flip. We perform the turn just like in freestyle, but we stay on our back after pushing off the wall, in our streamline position of course! In the backstroke leg of an IM there are no tumble turns, and we must finish on the back. This turn heavily relies of the glide. We can transition from backstroke to breaststroke with one of three (3) turns.

Breaststroke and Butterfly: For our symmetrical strokes we use ‘touch turns’, which requires a two-handed touch and quick tuck-and-turn to continue with speed. Whilst this may seem the simple technical turn, it still requires concentration and timing to ensure a full stroke before the glide phase. Getting into your streamline position before push-off is very important in the next phase of your swim!