BY KATIE ARNOLD//NATIONAL TEAM COACH FELLOW
In many pools, it is easy for swimmers to “cheat” their breaststroke and butterfly turns. With an open gutter at water-level, it is easy to wrap your fingers over the edge and pull yourself in to help the turn. However, this action actually hurts turn speed. By pulling the body into the wall during butterfly and breaststroke turns, swimmers end up spending more time on the wall when they should be trying to get in and out as quickly as possible.
This cheating can also have a negative effect on turn technique in pools that have flat walls. Without a gutter to grab onto, swimmers who cheat their turns in practice often struggle to get through their turns quickly. The video below shows an underwater turn drill that can be used to work on both open turns and flip turns:
This drill is great for swimmers and coaches who do not have access to a pool with flat walls. The focus should be on getting into and off of the wall quickly. Being completely underwater will also encourage swimmers to maintain a tight ball during the turn to avoid any extra resistance.