Ask the Coach Dec 09

"Should I be concerned with trying to learn flip-turns in the pool since I will never have to do this in open water during a race?"

In the big picture, no it isn’t critical to be able to flip turn as a triathlete. But if you put in the time and do learn how, it can be beneficial for a few reasons:

·         Continuity: Flip turns help to add continuity to your swims, your workouts will feel much less broken up then when you grab the wall at each end

·         Training Effect:  When you flip turn at each end of the pool you need to hold your breath as opposed to grabbing the end, pausing, and taking in a big breath. So flip turns take away the mini rest break you get with each length when you don’t flip turn (and many triathletes are guilty of taking  a nice little pause on each turn!)

·         Speed: Flip turns make you faster in the pool! Having great flip turns won’t make you faster in the open water, but the psychological boost of swimming faster in the pool because of them can be beneficial!

In the end I think that being able to flip turn is an important part of being a better swim and well worth investing the time into learning.


Nigel Gray is Head Coach of NRG Performance Training, with over 10 years of coaching experience from beginners to Elite athletes