General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Breathing with flip turns Rss Feed  
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2014-03-02 6:24 PM

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Subject: Breathing with flip turns
So I'm slowly getting better in the pool and have started doing flip turns every now and than. However I'm really struggling with the breathing. I find my self either having to get a quick breath in before i flip and when i do get the flip done I'm hoping to get to the top quickly because i need air.. So soon as i get to the top i take a breath however see better swimmers usually taking a couple strokes after the flip before they go for air. Definitely need some advice here.


2014-03-02 6:57 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
Lung capacity. The people you're watching have probably been doing it awhile. Also you're probably doing a slow somersault rather than a quick flip. When I swam as a kid we practiced turns by pushing off the wall, taking a few strokes, then flipping just to get the motion down. After getting the motion, start doing it at the wall. You'll look silly and need an empty lane but it worked. FWIW I take a breath on my last stroke before turning then usually after a couple strokes take another. Nothing wrong with breathing out of a turn just kinda kills the glide off the wall.

Edited by rjrankin83 2014-03-02 6:58 PM
2014-03-02 6:57 PM
in reply to: katan2212

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
No secret here, really a matter of conditioning and economy in your stroke mechanics. As you get stronger and your stroke improves you will find it easier. Just keep at it, you may want a coach to look at your stroke to make sure you are not wasting energy in the water.
2014-03-02 7:03 PM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns

Agree with the others. When I started with flip turns I flipped every other lap then just worked on it from there. I was used to taking a nice long breath before pushing off the wall but with my flip turn that breath was lost. Part of it was conditioning and part of it was mental. One day I just decided to suck it up and swim a 500 with flip turn every time no matter what and I haven't looked back since.

2014-03-02 8:47 PM
in reply to: trigal38

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
Yup. No secret. I'm still far from doing flip turns really well but I found the learning process a lot like learning to swim. I struggled a lot at first, mostly with breathing, then I just forced myself to work up a bit at a time until I could do them indefinitely.

I spent 5 minutes at the beginning of each workout working on nothing but flip turns, then just incorporated them into my workouts for as long as I could during the set, then switched back to open turns when I felt gassed. Eventually I was doing my whole workout with flip turns.

FWIW, I usually breathe 2 strokes from doing the turn then my first stroke after coming off the wall. There are surely faster ways to do it than that, but the odds I'll ever do a race where flip turns are even allowed are really small.

2014-03-03 3:02 AM
in reply to: JZig

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns

I've been a swimmer since I was a kid.  Coaches would pound on us to not breathe into or out of flip turns and I didn't then.  Now as an adult that isn't looking to save hundredths of a second, I breathe on the last stroke going in and first stroke out most of the time.  Only thing I would encourage you to work on is being able to hold a good streamline off the wall, don't rush that trying to get up for air.

Good luck and keep at it!



2014-03-05 6:22 AM
in reply to: katan2212

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
Look forward, not straight down so you have time to coordinate your stroke and breathing for the turn: Breathe, 1 stroke, flip! It may help getting used to breathing every 3.

Second, when you flip it's easy to loose a lot of air as you bend over and also to avoid getting water in the nose. In my experience the need to breathe is mostly because of emptying the lungs. Try to control it, just breathe out enough not to get water in the nose and stop exhaling as soon as you push of and turn around.

I remember as a kid we were simply told not to breath until beyond the 5m mark - that's where the lane rope change colour.
2014-03-05 7:32 AM
in reply to: erik.norgaard


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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
You can always stick your head up water polo style as you come in allowing you to breathe or take a deep breathe, but don't hold it, slowly blow out as you turn.
2014-03-05 7:51 AM
in reply to: erik.norgaard

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
Originally posted by erik.norgaard

I remember as a kid we were simply told not to breath until beyond the 5m mark - that's where the lane rope change colour.


If we took breath within the flags(in or out) our coach would throw a water polo ball at us!!!
2014-03-05 8:01 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns
Originally posted by axteraa
 Only thing I would encourage you to work on is being able to hold a good streamline off the wall, don't rush that trying to get up for air.

+1 This is what I view as being the important thing, not trying to hold your breath for a specified number of strokes after the turn. I breathe on my first stroke, but probably have a 8-10 foot glide off the wall (2 dolphin kicks under water) when I come up for air.
2014-03-05 12:59 PM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns

I am at the beginning stages of learning flip turns as well. Had the same breathing problem. My coach watched me last night and said I was flipping way too slow. I started flipping much faster last night and the breathing was much less of an issue. Still have some timing to work on, but a quick flip over a slow somersault helped a lot. 



2014-03-05 1:47 PM
in reply to: Aarondb4

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Subject: RE: Breathing with flip turns

Originally posted by Aarondb4

I am at the beginning stages of learning flip turns as well. Had the same breathing problem. My coach watched me last night and said I was flipping way too slow. I started flipping much faster last night and the breathing was much less of an issue. Still have some timing to work on, but a quick flip over a slow somersault helped a lot. 

I can't believe how fast some folks can flip.  We'll come to the wall at the same time and it's like I blink and they've rolled and pushed off!  I'm still practicing them during my w/u and c/d laps, but am not comfortable enough to use them during a set where I'm trying to go hard (too many little screw ups and it feels like I'm focusing on flipping instead of swimming).

I'll eventually get there… or not.  I'm not as concerned about how fast I can swim a 100 in the pool, but would sure like to swim with the ease that it looks like these flippin' creatures have!

Until then, I look at my incredibly poor flip turns as a training aid - like the high drag created by not shaving (well, except my chrome dome)…  Makes me stronger on race day!

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