Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Flip Turn


Flip Turn Technique
Keep your hands together when you push off from the wall.
Keep your hands together when you push off from the wall.
Digital Vision/Thinkstock

You've figured out where you need to begin your somersault, and you're comfortable turning it the water. Now, it's time to transfer those skills into a flip turn off the wall. Here's a step by step version of what you should be doing. It may seem like a lot of things to remember, but it's pretty basic. Just keep in mind what you want your body shape to be: tucked into a ball for the somersault near the wall, and then a streamlined torpedo after you push off.

  1. Tuck your chin, duck your head and somersault. Use your hands to push water toward your head, but keep your elbows tucked to your sides.
  2. While you're finishing the somersault, move your arms over your head and point your hands in the direction you want to be going.
  3. Push off from the wall with the soles of your feet, striking flat against the wall with toes pointed toward the water's surface. Optimally, you should bend your knees at a 90 degree angle, your hips a little more. You should be up, with your head about a foot beneath the surface. Push off at the same level, or go a little deeper in the water.
  4. Turn from your back over to you stomach as you push off from the wall. Experiment with different types of kicks during the push-off-and-rotation phases while you're perfecting your flip turn. You'll rotate easily if you just twist your hands (still together, over your head) and move your eyes in the direction you want to rotate.
  5. Now that you're flipped and rotated, flutter kick to the surface and begin to pull with the arm that was closest to the bottom of the pool when you rotated.

Don't get discouraged if you don't master the flip turn after the first few tries. Just keep plugging along, and one day you'll just get it and wonder why it ever seemed so complicated. After your next competition, you'll appreciate the work.


More to Explore