How to improve your tumble turns and swim faster

Posted on September 30, 2020 by

Your swimming performance can be improved in a number of different ways, and we’ve previously detailed how to be streamline in the freestyle stroke.

You can also focus on for example your starts, underwater skills and tumble turns. In this article we take a deep dive – so to speak – into tumble turns.

To improve your overall swimming performance, it’s beneficial to find time in your training to work specifically on tumble turns.

If you need to perfect the technique, try doing it near the start of your swim session while you are at your freshest.

In contrast, if you find your turns are deteriorating as the session goes on, it may be beneficial to practice this movement near the end of the session, forcing you to focus on the technique while you are more fatigued.

So, what do you focus on while practising your tumble turns?

1. Approach

  • Be aware of your distance to the wall
  • Count your strokes from the “T” (on the pool bottom) to the wall
  • Make sure your last stroke in is powerful
  • Try and maintain your swim speed in without dropping off
  • Tuck your chin in and your head and body will follow

2. Rotation

  • Hold your body in a tight ball
  • Maintain a small fast rotation
  • Tuck your elbows in
  • It’s ok to have preference overturning on to your back or with a slight twist to a 45 degree angle

3. Wall Contact

  • Kick out at the wall
  • Feet high on wall (top part of “T” on wall)
  • Feet hip to shoulder width apart
  • Try to use only the balls of your feet when contacting the wall

4. Push Off

  • Push off in a good streamline position
  • Hold streamline position and don’t start kicking too early
  • Maintain your speed from pushing off

You should try and implement all of the above in to your practice.

If required, you can simplify the action by removing part three (wall contact) and attempting the turn action in the middle of the pool to gain confidence in the rotation and kicking out.

Or simply focus on doing elements of each point. For example, start 15 metres out from the wall, swim up to speed, then focus on your approach. When you are comfortable with your approach, try focusing on your rotation. Keep adding to your skill until you’re comfortable with the whole turn.


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