26 August 2010

Crazy flip turns

I asked a rhetorical question on twitter a few days ago: "who in the h3ck invented the flip turn?" I said this because the darned thing appears to be the twisted invention of some sadistic contortionist. Not because I really wanted to know that it was Tex Richardson. That said, I'm glad to now know that. I can curse him now.

In one week, I am moving from my sedate leisurely 1 person per lane private club pool to a Masters team. I am comfortable with the fact that I'm going to be in the slow lane and I am OK with 4 to 5 people per lane. But I am going to lose the ability to just do whatever the h3ck I want when I want to. And I'm not comfortable with my weird little Irish Jig of a turn at the wall. There are going to be sixty year old ladies breathing down my neck, I can't afford a slow turn.

So I now flip.

That gets its own paragraph because it's so durned funny. My flip turns are a mess of flailing arms, bubbles and confused searches for the wall. I do my flip and then have to look for where the wall is. Because if I just push off of whatever is nearest my feet, it could be a lane line, the floor, the air above or even the swimmer in the next lane. Seriously, I have to warn people that I flip now and that it might not be safe near me.

And yet I continue. I do sets of 100s, thus giving me 3 opportunities to flip each time. I land about 50% of them. I still can't keep my composure enough to do a proper streamline dolphin kick (SDK for those of you not hip to the acronym). But at least on those 50%, I'm heading in the right direction.

The best ones are when I time the wall wrong, either taking a breath too late or trying to get one last stroke in. On these, I stubbornly try the flip anyway but find myself jammed up against the wall with nothing to do but surface. Usually I do one of those "I meant to do that" stretches and look around the pool and then off I go.

In one week it's not going to be people in the next lane that have to worry, I'll have 4-5 people in my own lane running for cover.


  1. hey i just randomly found your blog when searching for swim blogs. i feel your pain on the flip turns. GoSwim has an awesome series that teaches the flip turn -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFQpLyihI5M i wish i had seen it when i had to learn!

  2. That's hysterical. I call them torture, because I'm so worried about not getting water up my snout that I blow out all of my air. I nearly suffocate by the time of my pullout!!

    AKA Moodyrichardson on USMS.org

  3. Oh, PS, drop by my swimblog sometime:


  4. How can we find you on Twitter? What's your ID?

  5. It was actually Tex Robertson who invented the flip turn, not Tex Richardson