How To Do A Flip Turn In Swimming


If you’ve ever watched the swimming race, you’ve probably spotted that almost all of the contestants use flip turns to switch their direction to avoid getting slower and keep their pace and rhythm intact. In this article, we’ll show you how to perform a flip turn so next time you enter the swimming pool you can start to practice until you master flip turn swimming skill and manage to perform it in one flawless motion.

What Is A Flip Turn?

The flip turn is a swimming maneuver performed at the end of the pool to ease up the turn and prevent the loss of speed during the turn.

Why You Should Learn A Flip Turn

Performing a flip turn has many different advantages for both you and your swimming session, and here are some of the main and most important ones:

  • You’ll keep your swimming rhythm going. One of the most annoying things that can happen during your swimming session is losing your rhythm, and it most often happens during turning, when you stop and turn your body in the opposite direction.
  • You’ll keep your pace. By performing a flip turn, you won’t only keep the pace but you’ll also get an extra kick during your push.
  • You’ll keep your momentum and build on it. Proper turning will help you achieve a faster time, which can have a massive effect on your motivation.
  • You’ll feel cool, which is also one of the most important aspects of motivation.

How To Do A Flip Turn


Now it is time to learn how to do a flip turn. For a successful flop turn swimming movement, you’ll have to spend some time practicing, but with the help of these tips, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Don’t Slow Down

Many swimmers, especially beginners, tend to slow down before they reach the end of the pool thinking that this way it will be easier to perform a flip turn, which is wrong. The velocity you’ve achieved during the length of the pool will help you make a turn way easier by carrying your body through it. The more speed you bring into the turn, the easier it will be, and if you’re afraid that you’ll hit the end of the pool if you don’t look up, don’t worry – every pool is marked and when you see the end line, it is time to flip.

Avoid Breathing Into The Wall

The next important thing to know as you get ready to perform a flip turn swimming movement is how to breathe. The vast majority of swimming coaches will tell you not to breathe as you reach the wall, and do your best to do that. This will help you go faster, it will help you maintain your chin the proper way, and last but not least, it will help with your overall breathing discipline. You should also check out our guide on how to swim freestyle faster.

Proper Chin Positioning

Bad chin positioning is one of the main reasons behind the bad, sloppy, or unsuccessful flip turn attempt. If you pick your head up to see where you are, you’ll slow your pace down and lower the power you’ll receive from the turn. Also, your body will over-rotate if your chin is high, so you’ll end up going upwards instead of straight forward after the turn.

Extend Your Arms

The trick is to extend your arms out once your feet hit the wall of the pool. This is the final step that will have you rocket forward. Don’t wait for your feet to settle on the wall, the moment you feel them touching the wall move your hands straight above your head and you’ll see an enormous difference in speed.

Count Your Strokes

By far the best way to learn when you should start with your turn is to know how many strokes you need for one length of the pool. Practice until you manage to cover the distance of the pool with the same amount of strokes over and over again. This way you’ll know when it is time to get ready.

How To Do A Flip Turn

So, how do you flip in the pool? This is how to perform a flip turn swimming maneuver:

Big T Line

Besides stroke counting, you should learn how to read the pool marks. One of the most important ones for flip turn swimming maneuvers is a so-called Big T line. It is located about two feet away from the wall and it is there to let you know that you should start your flip turn.

With the big T line right below your face, as you start the last stroke with your right arm, keep your left hand by your side and tuck your chin into your chest. As your right-hand reaches your hip, the dolphin kicks your legs to get one final push down. Your body should follow your chin.

Angle It Right

With your backside out of the water and your legs about to breach, tuck them so your knees reach a right angle. If you feel you’ve started to lose momentum and that you won’t be able to finish up your turn by placing your heels over your head, put your arms into good use by simply pushing the water up toward your head. This way your rotation will get an additional push and you’ll get to a position to successfully push off the wall.

Time To Rotate!

As you practice, you’ll learn how to properly bend your legs and place your feet against the wall at the right angle and get yourself to a position to push away off the wall. When your feet reach the wall, if you’ve done everything right, your face should face up and you should look at the ceiling. This also means that the simple push will keep you on your back. To avoid this, from the moment you begin to push your legs, start rotating your body as you climb up back to the surface. Stop when your face is parallel with the bottom of the pool and the rest of the body will follow, so you’ll be back on your belly in a no-time, ready to continue your race.

Keeping Momentum

You’ll get an intense push out of your turn, now you have to learn how to get the most out of it and not to waste it. As you leap off the wall, you should stretch your arms out as you tuck them behind your head in a diving position, with your elbows locked forward and your hands one over the other so they form an arrowhead. This will improve your aerodynamics and allow you to keep the speed up. Keep it this way until you start to slow down, then take the first stroke with your right arm, follow with the left one and continue your swim.

How To Breathe During Flip Turn Swimming Maneuver

Many swimmers wonder how do you breathe when flipping, and not without a reason. Breathing is one of the most important aspects of properly executed flip turns. The key is to learn when you should hold your breath and when you should breathe. As you begin to turn, hold your breath during tucking, rolling, and planting your feet on the wall of the swimming pool. If you feel the water coming into your nose, don’t panic, but easily exhale through your nose. During the “push-off-the-wall” section, exhale normally and clear your lungs. The emptier the lungs, the better, so you can take new and fresh air on your first stroke after your flip turn.

How can I improve my flip turns?

The answer is simple – practice, practice, practice! It may sound overly complicated and it is a bit complex, but don’t give up. Doing a flip turn swimming maneuver may sound like something that won’t bring you much and impossible to do in one fluid motion, but you’ll catch on as you practice. Do it segment by segment, practice as much as possible and sooner or later you’ll find yourself performing it with your eyes closed, like it is something natural and like you’ve been doing it your whole life. It is important to learn to let your body move on its own and when to simply let it flow without any interference.

Once you manage to perform it fluidly, try to see what needs to be improved and work on that aspect of your flip turn. If you need help, feel free to ask a professional at your local pool to help you out and give you the information you need.

What Strokes Do You Use A Flip Turn For?

The answer to this question is simple – flip turn can be done for all swimming strokes. It is a bit different for backstroke, but it is one of the most popular turns in swimming and it is used by professional athletes in international competitions like World Championships, Olympics, etc.

Globo Surf Overview

Flip turn swimming maneuver is one of the essential swimming techniques and in this article you’ve learned how to do a flip turn, so you can start practicing the next time you step into a swimming pool and bring your swimming workout to another level.

More Swim Reviews:


  1. Learn to Master the Flip Turn,
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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!