Wednesday, August 23, 2017

To Flip Or Not To Flip That Is The Question?

I am not a competitive swimmer but I am a triathlete and I do flip turns when I swim.  I also tell the clients I coach that they should do flip turns. They always say to me they don’t have flip turns in a triathlon.  I realize that but it still provides many benefits to your swim in the pool and open water to learn how to do flip turns.  Most people can do them and if they can’t it doesn’t take too long to learn.  The reason most people don’t like to do them is they feel as if they can’t recover from it and get enough air back to continue to swim.  It takes a bit of time to build your lung capacity to feel comfortable doing them.  At first it may seem like more work but once you build your lung capacity you will never want to go back to the touch and go method of swimming.  You will get comfortable
doing them consistently in a week or so.  It just takes persistence.    Here are some reasons doing flip turns will help your swim in the pool and in the open water.

  • Touching the wall and turning provides a break, as small as it may be it’s a break and in triathlons you don’t get a break.  Flip turns don’t allow for any break it’s a continuous effort.  Just try swimming in a 50-meter pool compared to a 25-meter pool.  If you are a touch and go person you will find it far more difficult. 
  • Flip turns build your lung capacity and overtime you don’t feel like you’re running out of air when you do them. You hold your breath for a few seconds about twice a minute in a flip turn and get your lungs and rib cage used to handling more air.  
  • It’s like doing a crunch every time you reach the end of the pool and its great to strengthen your core. 
  • Improve your pool times because doing flip turns are typically faster than the touch and go method. 
  • Flip turns help you get into a good rhythm for your longer sets.  You can focus more on your technique and form without interruptions. 
  • They are good to help maintain speed and forward momentum, which will translate to open water. 

It doesn’t take long to learn flip turns but it does take persistence.  You will feel uncomfortable but you have to force yourself to keep doing them.  The hardest part isn’t learning them its getting past the feeling of running out of air.  This will pass and you will feel comfortable in no time.  I recently did an open water race in which the water was very choppy.  When I would go to breathe sometimes a swell would not allow me to take a breath.  I am glad I had the lung capacity to wait two more strokes before breathing.  I think doing flip turns is probably why I didn’t swallow a ton of water in that race.  I am used to going without air for a longer amount of time and it didn’t phase me in the race when I had to adjust my breathing. 

Happy flipping! 


Coach Cyndee