Faster Flip Turns in 5 steps. Mastering the Art of the Flip Turn in Swimming
Faster Flip Turns in 5 steps. Mastering the Art of the Flip Turn in Swimming

Faster Flip Turns in 5 steps. Mastering the Art of the Flip Turn in Swimming

Unlock the secrets to the perfect flip turn technique, boost your swimming speed, and glide through the water with finesse.


If you’re a competitive swimmer or simply looking to improve your swimming skills, mastering the art of the flip turn can be a game-changer. The flip turn, also known as a tumble turn, is a crucial skill in swimming that allows you to change direction seamlessly while minimizing the loss of momentum. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the proper way to execute a flip turn, step by step. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced swimmer looking to refine your technique, you’ll find valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your swimming performance.

Why Master the Flip Turn?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of executing a perfect flip turn, let’s understand why it’s so important in the world of swimming. The flip turn offers several significant advantages:

  1. Efficiency: A well-executed flip turn allows you to maintain your speed and reduce resistance when transitioning from one lap to the next. This efficiency is crucial for competitive swimmers striving for faster times.
  2. Continuous Swimming: Without flip turns, you’d need to stop at the end of each lap, disrupting your rhythm and slowing you down. Flip turns enable you to swim continuously, making it ideal for endurance training.
  3. Competitive Edge: In races, especially short-distance ones like the 50 and 100 meters, a well-practiced flip turn can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Now, let’s get into the details of executing a flawless flip turn.

The Fundamentals of a Perfect Flip Turn

1. Approach and Timing

Before reaching the wall, you need to prepare for the flip turn. Here’s how to do it:

  • Spot the Wall: As you approach the wall, keep your eyes on it. Maintaining awareness of your distance from the wall is crucial for a successful flip turn.
  • Count Your Strokes: Develop a sense of how many strokes you need to take before reaching the wall. This will help you time your flip turn accurately.

2. Tuck and Rotation

The actual flip turn involves a swift, coordinated movement. Follow these steps:

  • Last Stroke: Take your last stroke with your arms extended fully. Use this stroke to propel yourself toward the wall with power.
  • Tuck Your Knees: As your arms extend forward, bring your knees to your chest, tucking them close. This compact position minimizes resistance in the water.
  • Rotation: Initiate a quick rotation of your body as you tuck. Your body should rotate 90 degrees or more, depending on your skill level.

3. The Flip

The flip itself is a pivotal moment. Focus on these aspects:

  • Head Position: Keep your head tucked between your arms during the flip. This prevents any accidental collisions with the wall.
  • Push Off: Use your feet to push off the wall as soon as your back touches it. The push-off should be strong, propelling you away from the wall and into the next lap.

4. Streamline

After the flip and push-off, streamline position is crucial:

  • Body Alignment: Keep your body in a straight line, with your arms extended above your head. This streamlined position reduces drag and allows you to glide through the water.
  • Kicking: Start a strong flutter kick to maintain your speed while in the streamline position.

5. Resurfacing

As you near the surface, prepare to return to your regular swimming posture:

  • Rotate: Begin to rotate your body back to its horizontal position as you approach the surface.
  • Break the Surface: Break the water’s surface with your head first, followed by your arms. Continue your stroke cycle as you start your next lap.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Achieving the perfect flip turn takes practice, and it’s common to make some mistakes along the way. Here are a few common errors to watch out for:

  • Early Flip: Flipping too early can lead to a clumsy turn and loss of momentum. Make sure you’re close enough to the wall before initiating the flip.
  • Over-Rotation: Over-rotating during the flip can cause you to veer off course. Aim for a 90-degree rotation, as it provides the ideal balance between speed and control.
  • Weak Push-Off: If your push-off from the wall is weak, you’ll lose the advantage of the flip turn. Focus on pushing off with power and precision.
  • Lack of Streamline: Neglecting the streamline position after the flip can result in unnecessary drag. Maintain a tight streamline to maximize your efficiency.

Drills and Exercises

Improving your flip turn requires consistent practice. Here are some drills and exercises to help you hone your skills:

1. Wall Touches

Swim toward the wall, focusing on perfecting your approach. As you reach the wall, practice touching it lightly with your hands and pushing off with force. This drill helps you get comfortable with the wall and your flip turn timing.

2. Flip Only

For this exercise, swim toward the wall and execute only the flip without the push-off. Concentrate on the rotation and head position. Repeat this drill to build muscle memory for the flip motion.

3. Streamline Practice

After your flip turn, spend time practicing the streamline position. Kick underwater with your arms extended above your head. This drill helps you maintain a streamlined posture and develop strong leg muscles.

4. Flip and Go

Combine all elements of the flip turn, including the push-off and streamline, but focus on your speed and timing. Swim short distances and perform flip turns, ensuring you maintain a fast pace.

Tips for Perfecting Your Flip Turn

To truly master the flip turn, consider the following additional tips:

  • Video Analysis: Record yourself performing flip turns and review the footage to identify areas for improvement.
  • Coach’s Feedback: Seek feedback from a swimming coach or experienced swimmer to pinpoint areas where you can refine your technique.
  • Consistent Practice: Like any skill, the flip turn improves with regular practice. Dedicate time in each swim session to work on your turns.
  • Mental Focus: Pay attention to your mental state. Confidence and focus play a significant role in executing a flawless flip turn.


The flip turn is an essential skill for swimmers aiming to enhance their efficiency, speed, and overall performance in the water. By mastering the fundamentals, avoiding common mistakes, and incorporating drills and exercises into your training routine, you can become a flip turn expert. Whether you’re racing in a competitive swimming event or simply seeking to improve your technique, the perfect flip turn is a valuable tool in your swimming arsenal. Dive into practice with dedication, and you’ll soon find yourself gliding effortlessly through the water, leaving your competitors in your wake.

Explore more articles on swimming techniques:

  1. The Benefits of Open Water Swimming
  2. Strength Training for Swimmers: Building Power in the Pool
  3. Breathing Techniques for Efficient Swimming