Open Turn Mistakes to Avoid

Open Turn Mistakes to Avoid

Swimming's open turn may appear to be a simple process - touch the wall, turn around, and continue swimming. However, it's not as straightforward as it seems. No matter if you're competing in butterfly, breaststroke, IM, or if you just prefer open turns over flip turns, it's time to elevate your turning game!


Open Turns vs Flip Turns

During a competition, you'll witness open turns being executed in the individual medley, breaststroke, and butterfly events. Swimmers reach the wall, curl up tightly, and propel themselves off to begin the next lap. On the other hand, when it comes to backstroke and freestyle, most swimmers opt for flip turns. They execute a flip near the wall and push off.

Nevertheless, it's important to note that not all swimmers choose to do flip turns. In fact, there's a good chance that many prefer open turns for all strokes! If you're looking to enhance your open turns and make them faster and more efficient, here are some tips to consider.


How to Do an Open Turn

1. For your turn to be counted as legal in competition, you must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously.

2. After touching the wall, you’ll start turning. Drive your dominant elbow back. As you do this, your torso will turn toward that elbow and your knees will start to tuck in towards your chest.

3. After driving the elbow back, the opposite hand should come by your ear. During this, you’ll start to drop down under the water for push off and your feet should make their way towards the wall.

4. When your feet hit the wall and your arms are in streamline position, it’s time to push off!

You can watch this video from TYR on how to do an open turn:


Open Turn Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Not Touching with Two Hands: If you plan to race breaststroke, butterfly or individual medley, it is important to practise all your open turns with a two-hand touch. If you don’t touch the wall with both hands at a competition, you will be disqualified. Best to build muscle memory now!

Swimming too close to the wall: Swimmers who get really close to the wall before turning have issues with open turns. Try to avoid touching the wall and bending your elbows to pull yourself closer to the wall. Instead, try to keep your arms extended and stay as far from the wall as you can.

Grabbing onto the wall: It may be tempting to grab the side of the pool to help yourself turn, but try not to! A good open turn should not require any sort of grip on the wall. Try to tap the wall and push off it with your hands to get where you need to go.

Pulling yourself too high out of the water: Swimmers who grab onto the wall often pull themselves up out of the water. By doing this, you’re pulling yourself away from the water, which means you’ll have to spend extra time dropping back down into the proper position to push off. Instead, try to stay as low as you can throughout your turn. Use your momentum to drive you, rather than pulling with your arms!

Not being compact: Many beginner swimmers are not compact enough when performing an open turn, creating a lot of excess drag. To make your body compact in an open turn, focus on tucking your knees into your chest as you initiate your turn. Then, instead of turning around 180 degrees to start swimming again, rotate your body as you drop back.

Not pushing off in a tight streamline: Streamline is the fastest you’ll ever be in the water. If you neglect your streamline technique on open turns, you’ve leaving a lot of extra speed on the table. Try to remember to focus on a good streamline and overtime you’ll build muscle memory!

Training the movement too slow: When you train fast butterfly, breaststroke or IM, you should be working on fast turns as well. The more comfortable you get with the fast pace, the more you’ll be able to refine your technique and work on making your turns as efficient and fast as possible.


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