During a recent conversation with a friend who was doing a pool swim for charity, it came up that he could not do tumble turns. The challenge involved 4 length sprints and he was a little dismayed about the time he was losing by having to stop after every length to touch the wall, turn around and push off. So I thought it would be a great advantage for him to learn to tumble turn as not only will this give him a great advantage speed wise but will also help improve his feel for the water.
Here are 5 step by step practices that I put together for him to master his tumble turns in time for his next swim:
1. It’s all about the nose! Blowing out through the nose is the only way to prevent water getting up it without wearing a nose clip. Practice steady, rhythmical breathing, bobbing up to take a breath and then submerging to blow out through your nose.
Tip: If you struggle with blowing out through your nose practice your loudest humming underwater until it becomes second nature.
2. Get used to going upside down. Tumble turns can be a bit disorientating if you are not used to them so have some fun and practice handstands, tucking your chin in and bowing out through your nose. Once you’re confident enough let your legs flip over until you are floating on your back or standing.
Tip: Take a deep breath and remember to keep blowing out through your nose until you finish the movement.
3. Get some speed. Practice pushing off the wall into a handstand and flip over or if you’re feeling confident, a summersault.
Tip: Turn your palms to face forwards and use them to accelerate your upper body round, keep your chin tucked in and let your legs flip over your body.
4. The turning point. Determine the best distance from the wall for your turn. Try swimming up to the wall, rolling over and standing up; see how close to the wall you can actually get. Aim to finish horizontal after the roll over with your feet planted on the wall.
Tip: Experiment to find a comfortable distance.
5. The final push. Practice spending as little time as you can with your feet in contact with the wall. Once they are planted drive with your thighs as though you were jumping. Don’t waste time turning onto your front before pushing off, push off on you back if necessary in a streamlined shape and gradually roll over.
With practice you’ll soon be knocking seconds off your times and leading the field and once you are why not try a challenge or charity swim of your own?