For many beginner swimmers, the flip turn is an elusive skill that seems impossible to master. While it does take a lot of practice, you can learn to flip turn if you put in the work during your workouts!
Let’s break down what a good flip turn looks like, and a few drills you can do to refine your technique.
How to Do a Swimming Flip Turn
Step by step, here’s how to do a correct flip turn when swimming freestyle:
Related: How to Do a Freestyle Flip Turn
- Maintain your speed into the wall. Don’t slow down!
- Take your last stroke and approach the wall with your arms at your sides
- Tuck your chin and flip straight over with a small dolphin kick. Use your arms to help press yourself over.
- Land with your feet on the wall, pointing straight up to the sky
- Move your arms into streamline position and push off the wall in streamline, rotating onto your stomach as you glide.
Common Flip Turn Mistakes
The pros make flip turns look easy, but they’ve had thousands of hours to practice. We commonly see the following major mistakes with flip turns:
- Rotating the body as you flip: This is less efficient than flipping straight over.
- Sweeping the arms out to the side as you flip: When your arms are out to the side, you have to spend a lot of time moving them into streamline, which slows you down.
- Slowing down into the wall: The slower you go into the wall, the harder it will be to flip yourself over.
- Looking forward before flipping: It’s tempting to look at the wall before you flip, but try not to. Use the T on the bottom of the pool to gauge your distance from the wall, and tuck your chin instead of looking up. Trust us, you aren’t going fast enough to hurt yourself if you accidentally run into the wall!
- Breathing in & out of the turn: Try to avoid taking a breath immediately before flipping. After you push off, take two to three strokes before taking a breath. Extra breaths can slow down your momentum into and out of the turn.
Flip Turn Drills to Try
Give these flip turn drills a shot to improve your arm positioning and speed in your flip turns.
If you tend to sweep your arms out as you flip turn, this drill is for you!
Grab two kickboards. Float on your stomach with your arms by your sides, holding one kickboard in each hand.
Flip, and focus on pressing your hands into the kickboards. When you finish flipping, the kickboards (and your hands) should be on your shoulders.
Mid-Pool Flip Drill
This drill will help you work on maintaining momentum into the turn. Swim, and do a flip in the middle of the pool every 3-5 strokes. Focus on flipping as fast as you can, so you can easily start swimming again. The goal is to do as close to a 360-degree flip as possible!
You’ll notice that if you flip too slowly in this drill, you’ll have a tough time getting back to swimming.
Drill Set to Improve Your Flip Turns
Before starting this drill set, spend five minutes working on the Kickboard Drill. Add this set to your next workout!
4×25 Mid-Pool Flip Drill (flip every 3-5 strokes) @ :40
Learning how to flip turn takes consistent practice. Commit to working on your flip turns in every workout, and don’t give up because you’re tired. Over time, you’ll build endurance and soon enough flip turns will be easy!
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