Flip Turn

Hi all,

I have mastered my swimming endurance and can do lap after lap of a 50m pool without stopping (thanks for the advice guys, it's all about relaxing and no thinking about it too much!).

I really really want to master the flip turn. My problem is that I have done martial arts for most of my life which encourages you to flip (in a throw) with a leading shoulder. This reflects that when I try and flip turn I throw my right shoulder and go off in a funny direction. I try really hard to get my bum over head but water ends ups rushing up my nose (probs because I am concentrating on the flip and not exhaling!) any tips on how to roll straight? I see 11 year olds doing this perfectly, how can I not master it!




  • You do know that a tumble turn is not allowed at most pool triathlons ?
  • yea, but it looks cool image

  • Ok... I prefer to practise what I will use in a race, rather than something I won't
  • I am a newbie to Tri, enjoying the process and improving. not competitively yet as I don't have a proper bike (poor student). So working on everything individually and casually before I hit comps. Sorry if it's the wrong place to post.

  • Not the wrong place to post at all

    But why spend time practicing something you won't use ? You don't spend time running 400 m hurdles ( well I suppose you might)

    I practice turning in the same way I will in a race.

    You have a bike ? So you can do a tri !
  • You risk being DQ'd if you do a tumble turn which is why it has been suggested that you don't bother practicing it. Save your energy getting the stroke right, plus if you did you do open water swim there are no walls to turn off.


  • It's fun to do and builds good breath control. You can't do it in a race but who cares. Tumble turns are cool as f#%k!
  • there are races that do allow it .......so you lot shouldn't generalise .......and if it makes training more fun for the guy then why not...

    I can't advise you as i can't do them and I'm shit at swimming......sorry image

  • Dave The Ex-Spartan-   I have a mountain bike, which is pretty heavy. I am pretty competitive so I want a decent set of wheels to do myself justiceimage. I graduate next year, first pay packet is going on a racing bike!


    SteadyCJ- I get what you mean, I suppose I just like feeling like a pro!

    PSC- Any tips?

  • You just have to practice it Dibs.  How about doing forward rolls on a padded floor.  You'd have to go straight over with your head between your shoulders doing that and that's what you need to practice to get it right!  

    As for the water going up your nose, that happens to everyone!  Just exhale, through your nose, as you turn.

    If you're doing tumble turns in lanes in the pool remember to keep your eyes open for the person swimming directly behind you, or forewarn them.  You might inadvertently end up nutting them otherwise!

    Good luck!

  • The thing that helped me work this out was the advice from a swim coach at my club; I was going in leading with an arm out that caused me to rotate to the side too much. Instead he got me to practice swimming to the wall with my arms by my side and then to initiate the tumble to bring my hands up against my chest. So imagine keeping your elbows by your side and then bringing your hands up to your face / chest in one swift movement, put your chin down and over you go. The bit I still struggle with is getting a good foot plant on the wall.


    TBH, I got to a point where I could do them ok but I was focussing more on the turns than the strokes between them. Pretty much stopped using them now, but nice to be able to do them now and again. 

  • I have tried, but am crap at them.

    My issue is judging the correct point at which to tuck under. I've consistently been finishing the roll, yet been too far away to get a push!

    I didn't know that they were banned in most places on race day.

    Like anything in swimming, done well they are a thing of beauty, with no splashing, just the merest "plop". However, most people make the sound of the John Smiths bomber, "plodooosh". Have somone video your turn, so you can see the little bits that don't look right.

  • Agree with doing them if you want to do them. Sure you won't do them in a race, but who cares? In my experience you have the added bonus of reducing prevalence of cramp in the legs caused by pushing off using a large ROM employed in an open turn (but for this I guess YMMV)

  • tumble turns need practice, practice and more practice until they become second nature. I can do them but not very well but when I get it right it feels so gooooood....

    what I haven't mastered yet is the art of doing them with a pullbuoy - that usually ends up popping out of my legs as I clearly split them to tumble - most good swimmers don't.   

    as has been said, you won't use them in (most) pool tris but there's no harm using them in training

  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
    You do know that a tumble turn is not allowed at most pool triathlons ?

    I didn't know this either. I thought that later on - when i become an accomplished swimmer image - i'd learn these as they'd surely speed up my turns.

    I guess if you trained using tumble turns you're at risk of doing them on authomatic pilot during a race and being disqualified. Or over/under (?) estimating your finish time based on your training if you don't.

  • Ghostess - under BTF rules, tumble turns aren't specifically banned in pool tris but most Race Directors don't allow them as it can be a recipe for chaos when you have lots of people in the pool of differing swim abilities.    a non-tumble turn also gives an athlete a bit more time to survey what's happening and if someone is coming up fast allow them to stop at the wall to let that person past.

    once you get to the faster swimmers, then some RDs do allow tumbles but by then most slower, non-tumblers will not be in the water so it's more manageable.

    I've yet to DQ a good swimmer for doing a tumble turn in a pool tri - but I guess there might be a 1st time in the future!!

  • Thanks guys, I shall give all suggestions a go tomorrow. I can usually get a pretty good foot plant on the fall, but that is just one foot because I have turned on an angle. the leading arm suggestion seems like a sound one, I think I do end on a right handed stroke and role throwing my right shoulder. worth a practice!


    will keep posted!

  • Check out Paul Newsome's tips here: http://www.swimsmoothforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=164

    I found the quickest improvement for me came from practising tumbles standing still away from the wall. Once you get that feeling right tumble turns get much easier.

  • I remember learning them at school, we often found ourselves in our pj's rescuing rubber bricks from the floor of the deep end, we told that a good dive down while in the water is like doing a forward roll before straightening out into the dive position to rescue the poor brick, so we all practiced forward rolls in the water which also lead to tumble turns, we had a big lad in our class who was very good at them but would often get a bolloking as he would often soak the teacher while executing his tumble as his large surface area would remove a good percentage of the pool onto the teachers flip-flops and tracky bottoms ha ha, happy days

  • ive been able to tumble turn for ages, but it has only been in the last six months that I do it all the time.  The benefit of doing them is it makes you go hypoxic for a bit so helps to increase your swim fitness.  Will feel horrible to start with and the timing is the hardest thing to get right.  Be prepared to come up to soon, miss the wall, water up your nose etc

    Practice just sommersulting in the pool without a wall, get use to that then progress to the wall and plant your feet, push off on your back and turn after. Dont try and twist before pushing off, remember to accelarate in to the wall as more speed makes it easier

  • Doozer. wrote (see)

    The benefit of doing them is it makes you go hypoxic for a bit so helps to increase your swim fitness.

    No longer than when swimming with your face in the water? Unless you're not taking a breath in the stroke before the turn, but then you could go hypoxic by just breathing every 7...

  • true, but you cant do that every length

  • My touch turns are quicker than most peoples tumble turns so I will stay as I am for now ...   image

  • A touch turn is when you come to the wall, grab it with one hand and push off again right?

  • Oh that's a touch turn, I think I've got some apologising to do.........againimage

  • JPGoodboy wrote (see)

    Oh that's a touch turn, I think I've got some apologising to do.........againimage


  • Tried again today, Still going off on an angle.

    I got my friend to watch my underwater and she said I turn midway through the tumble, I start off ok but then I don't complete it straight. Practice I guess, will be trying again tomorrow.

  • Hell yes I can, booyaa!! Jut worked yesterday, not sure what I was doing differently but straight over she goes! Now just have to work on my push off and swivel

  • I've lost count of the number of times I have told Barlos to 'push off and swivel'. image
  • JPGoodboy - your mentor is asking after you. Please can you get in touch. Cheers
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