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 Garrod works for AUT Millennium Swim School and the Schools Programme. He started back in February 2015 and teaches from Breather Level right through to Development Two. Whilst working part time, he is also in the home stretch of completing his Bachelor of Business Degree at Massey University in Albany. Jacob learned to swim aged three, and became a competitive swimmer at the age of 7. He continued right through until 22, clocking up 15 years in the sport. He specialised in breaststroke and has represented New Zealand on the international level, attending two Oceania Championships in 2014 and 2016, where he managed to get five medals - three gold, and two silver. Jacob also attended the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China, and the 2017 World University Games, in Taipei, Taiwan. Jacob attended multiple National Championships where he managed to get medals throughout the years, from junior level, to age group level, right through to open level.