Tumble turns are one of the tricky aspects to learn in swimming.  However, if you are able to learn tumble turns, it will give you a great opportunity to speed up the amount of time you are spending on the wall.

Before you flip on the wall, it is first important to get the hang of flipping in the water and understanding what you have to do in order to do a successful flip. There are a couple things you need to remember when you are trying to get your head around tumble turns.

  • Make sure you are tucking into a tight ball to allow for you to easily flip with limited drag.
  • Use your arms to help you flip over faster.
  • Breathe to the side if you need to take a breath just before turning.
  • You will naturally want to lift your head up to turn, however this isn’t possible without compromising your body position in the water.
  • Don’t forget to blow out your nose as you flip upside down… we’ve probably all been there.. and it’s not a nice feeling if you forget!

From here, we are able to move to the next stage of doing the full tumble turn on the wall. This includes pushing off the wall, and twisting to your front.  Firstly, don’t come out of your tight ball until your feet are on the pool wall. This is because the push-off is the fastest part of your stroke, so you need to ensure you are getting the most out of each turn. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart so you can use all the power you have for a strong push off. Bring your arms above your head, press your hands together in a hand-over-hand position to streamline your body. Again… don’t forget to blow out through your nose!

Once you push off the wall, ensure that you are getting into streamline as quickly as possible, to ensure limited drag. Whilst doing this, you should be doing butterfly kicks over to your front for freestyle, and remaining on your back for backstroke. Once you have got some strong kicks in, this should take you closer to the surface and you can get back into your stroke again.

It is important to make sure you are not slowing down at any point in the tumble turn. It’s said that the faster you go in, the faster you come out!

Hopefully these tips can get you started on trying to understand and get the hang of tumble turns.

If there are any technique tips you’d like us to tackle, let us know by emailing [email protected]

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Jacob is the Assistant Swim School Manager and Private Swim Coach at AUT Millennium. Jacob has been with AUT Millennium since 2015 where he became a qualified learn-to-swim instructor. He now assists in managing the Swim School as well as working with learn-to-swim students, both adults and children. As well as competitive swimmers and open-water swimmers who are trying to refine their technique in 1-on-1 sessions. His background in swimming involves representing both his club at National events, as well as New Zealand at International events.