> When doing freestyle, I seem to lose a lot on my turns. At 100 meters I
> lose over 1 second to other swimmers. I was wondering if anybody knows
> how I can improve my turns. I'm not a novice or anything. I know I'm
> supposed to make myself as small as possible etc. Suggestions or
> pointers to articles are welcome.
It's difficult to give specific advice without seeing you do a turn, but
the following may give you some general direction:
1) Make sure you get a good breath as you approach the wall. If you do
this, you will ride higher in the water during your turn, reducing your
drag, and you won't have to break out of your streamline early to take a
2) As you approach the wall, you should be on your side with your lower
arm straight forward, your upper arm laying against your side, and your
head turned toward the bottom of the pool. (If you are doing freestyle,
that's approximately the position your body should be in at the end of each
non-breathing stroke. If you're doing backstroke, you should be close to
that position at the end of each stroke: just turn your head toward the
bottom of the pool and roll onto your side!)
3) Stroke under your body with your leading arm. As you do so, allow the
motion of your arm to roll you onto your stomach. Simultaneously tuck your
chin against your chest and tuck your legs into a squat position. Make
sure you keep your chin tucked throughout the turn! If you don't, it will
slow you down!
4) When your stroking arm reaches your hip, immediately turn both palms
forward (hands flat, fingers spread slightly) and then bring your hands
quickly to your chest (as though you were doing an arm curl with a barbell,
except that your hands should remain flat). This motion should help to
propel you the rest of the way around.
5) If you are doing freestyle, roll onto your side as you complete the 180
degree flip. If you are doing backstroke, remain on your back.
6) Snap into a streamlined position. If you were standing when you did
this, you would end up with your arms beside your ears and your hands
straight over your head, hand over hand, wrist over wrist. Your legs
should be straight with your toes pointed. (I can send you a picture if
this isn't clear.) As you snap with your legs, they will hit the side of
the pool. Your arms should be in position a split second before you kick
with your legs, since it will slow you down if they are not.
7) You should initially be gliding much faster than you can stroke.
Remain in your streamline until your speed starts to drop below the speed
at which you can stroke. You can keep yourself in your streamline a little
longer by taking several dolphin kicks as you start to lose speed.
8) When you come out of your streamline in freestyle, your first stroke
should be taken with your lower arm. (It doesn't really matter which arm
you stroke with first in backstroke.)
As you grow in skill, trying accelerating and getting closer to the wall as
you go into your turn. You want to swim until you think your face is going
to hit the wall, then duck!
If any of this isn't clear, or if you're having any specific problems, feel
free to email me. I have a number of drills I can give you.