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2017-07-03 8:05 PM


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Subject: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Been at this for a couple years now and my swimming has improved but I kind of hit a wall probably due to on and off habits. I'm getting back to it and got my old time back and even shaved a few seconds off my max pace (not very fast btw). Thought I'd spend time playing with these flip turny things. While I could use some work I don't feel I'm spending any more time during the turn but the extra submersion has my pace down just to survive these. I'm now swimming 10s/100y slower than my "perfected" open turn but understand even the swim masters site says that lost time is normal while starting.
I only spent a couple session forcing myself through them but don't get it.

IMO open turns with just a quick tag, turn and stream better simulate racing. I don't think I spend much if any extra time breathing and feel the flip turn is just unnatural oxygen deprivation. I mean, why on earth would anyone go under and start spinning like a torpedo during a race? I feel it's more of a lung work out than a swim work out. I plan to stick with it to enjoy the challenge and variety but if my time, guts, and lungs are still broken after two weeks I'll probably give up on them. Anyone here agree, disagree, or relate? I understand they're kind of a sign for someone who knows pool swimming but feel it's kind of a pretentious qualification for a triathlete.

Edited by runtim23 2017-07-03 8:05 PM


2017-07-04 1:33 AM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
I agree with you and can relate. One thing that helped (but didn't solve things) was breathing to both sides on two consecutive strokes right after the turn to help with the oxygen deprivation. I still would like to perfect the turn. I see a swim team of middle school kids at one of the pools where I swim. They all have the flip turn down and I can only watch with envy. So graceful and no indication of oxygen deprivation at all.

One other thing that's discouraging me from learning flip turns is that it's very normal to have to share a lane here in Asia and the lane is shared by circular swimming (always staying to the right). So you're going at the wall on one side and then have to switch over to the other side of the lane. It really messes with my flip turn. And I also worry about never learning it properly if I get all my practice in with these weird angles involved.
2017-07-04 6:21 AM
in reply to: Trilogy

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Two things about flip turns: 1) It is way faster than doing an open turn. Numerous times I have paced myself against swimmers in other lanes but when they do an open turn and I flip my turn I lose them. 2) You do not get that opportunity for the huge breath you get with an open turn. Because of this, it really does give you some training advantage as breathing control and timing is a crucial part of training (you don't want to feel panicked when breathing).

With this said, it is critical that you flip turns? No. Putting in the yardage, pushing your pace when appropriate, maintaining a hydrodynamic position in the water, and getting your stroke as efficient as possible are the critical aspects of swim training. Will flipping your turns up your game? Yes.

My bet is that you are not flipping your turns but rather doing a tumble turn. It likely requires someone to teach you how to correctly flip turn.
2017-07-04 9:46 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Open turns don't do a better job of simulating open water. What lake or ocean allows you to grab a wall every 25 and pause for 2-3 seconds. A slow flip is about 1.5 seconds and a good one is 0.6-7. Do what every you want but never say open turms are more like open water, they are not.

Edited by simpsonbo 2017-07-04 9:48 AM
2017-07-04 1:14 PM
in reply to: runtim23


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Just my experience, but I did open turns for about a year and a half. I felt like I could do them faster than flip turns and I also didn't get that oxygen deprivation feeling. Around August last summer, I decided I would start attempting to do flip turns because I was the only person in my swim club that wasn't doing them. I did notice my times slowed down for the first few weeks to a month. After, when I started getting more comfortable with exhaling slowly through the turn and a constant form, my times became faster than just doing an open turn. It took a lot of dedication to stick with the flip turn for weeks, but I am happy I did it.

I would recommend adding in 'middies' to the end of each of your sets. These are five to ten laps where you start in the center of the pool and do fifty meters, two flips turns, and stop back in the center of the pool before the next one. I often do these on the minute, but that's just what I found worked for me. Really focus on fast turns, a strong push off the wall and not breathing right before you flip. Although tempting, taking a breath a stroke or two before the turn causes you to loose speed. There are a ton of other drills to aid in getting better with flip turns too.

I don't think there is exactly a right way to do them, but its however you feel most comfortable.
2017-07-04 8:40 PM
in reply to: sail

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

do Tennessee turns instead



2017-07-04 10:17 PM
in reply to: runtim23


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by runtim23

Been at this for a couple years now and my swimming has improved but I kind of hit a wall probably due to on and off habits. I'm getting back to it and got my old time back and even shaved a few seconds off my max pace (not very fast btw). Thought I'd spend time playing with these flip turny things. While I could use some work I don't feel I'm spending any more time during the turn but the extra submersion has my pace down just to survive these. I'm now swimming 10s/100y slower than my "perfected" open turn but understand even the swim masters site says that lost time is normal while starting.
I only spent a couple session forcing myself through them but don't get it.

IMO open turns with just a quick tag, turn and stream better simulate racing. I don't think I spend much if any extra time breathing and feel the flip turn is just unnatural oxygen deprivation. I mean, why on earth would anyone go under and start spinning like a torpedo during a race? I feel it's more of a lung work out than a swim work out. I plan to stick with it to enjoy the challenge and variety but if my time, guts, and lungs are still broken after two weeks I'll probably give up on them. Anyone here agree, disagree, or relate? I understand they're kind of a sign for someone who knows pool swimming but feel it's kind of a pretentious qualification for a triathlete.


It's got nothing to do with what you do in a race, you are trying to become a better swimmer, do what good swimmers do. I'm guessing you'll stop/start in between sets, drink from your water bottle, use pull buoy, fins, kickboard, swim backstroke, butterfly, swim in a pool with walls and lane ropes - none of these appear in triathlon swims. If you don't want to do a tumble-turn then don't, but it's silly to justify not doing them because you don't do them in a race. Also if you ever squad swim you'll become pretty unpopular if you stop at the wall every lap to turn with the guy behind you expecting you to flip.
2017-07-04 10:18 PM
in reply to: sail


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by sail

I also didn't get that oxygen deprivation feeling.


Dealing with that is important for OWS, especially in choppy conditions.
2017-07-04 10:44 PM
in reply to: zedzded

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 

2017-07-05 9:37 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by Left Brain

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 




Kiddo doing open water clinic this weekend... adults about to get schooled by 47 lbs kid.
2017-07-05 9:39 AM
in reply to: simpsonbo

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

Originally posted by simpsonbo
Originally posted by Left Brain

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 

Kiddo doing open water clinic this weekend... adults about to get schooled by 47 lbs kid.

Well of course it works better for the kids, so much less mass to rotate.



2017-07-05 10:23 AM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

Originally posted by runtim23 Been at this for a couple years now and my swimming has improved but I kind of hit a wall probably due to on and off habits. I'm getting back to it and got my old time back and even shaved a few seconds off my max pace (not very fast btw). Thought I'd spend time playing with these flip turny things. While I could use some work I don't feel I'm spending any more time during the turn but the extra submersion has my pace down just to survive these. I'm now swimming 10s/100y slower than my "perfected" open turn but understand even the swim masters site says that lost time is normal while starting. I only spent a couple session forcing myself through them but don't get it. IMO open turns with just a quick tag, turn and stream better simulate racing. I don't think I spend much if any extra time breathing and feel the flip turn is just unnatural oxygen deprivation. I mean, why on earth would anyone go under and start spinning like a torpedo during a race? I feel it's more of a lung work out than a swim work out. I plan to stick with it to enjoy the challenge and variety but if my time, guts, and lungs are still broken after two weeks I'll probably give up on them. Anyone here agree, disagree, or relate? I understand they're kind of a sign for someone who knows pool swimming but feel it's kind of a pretentious qualification for a triathlete.

Even if the bold were true (it's not), the objective of everything done during training shouldn't be to simulate racing.  There are quite a few other training session objectives that are not racing specific, but will ultimately help an athlete perform better on race day.  I'm sorry I don't have time to elaborate right now, but maybe someone else can explain.  If not, I'll try to post more information later.

 

2017-07-05 10:46 AM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
I don't flip turn anymore AND I never once thought it hurt me. To the contrary I actually think it helps. I spent some time writing about the topic in depth here:

http://www.thomasgerlach.com/2012/02/flip-turns-vs-open-turns-triat...
2017-07-05 10:50 AM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
I approached flip turns like I've done everything else in this endeavor of mine. Slowly.
About the only thing I knew I could do triathlon related was ride a bike for a long way.
First time I tried to run outside, I made it about 400 yards before I was walking and "done with it all".
And that was after many months on an elliptical/etc.
Then one time I ran 3. And then 4. And then 6. And then one time I did 9.

Same with flip turns. Tried a few with little luck. Watched a video or three, read a few threads here. One day, I spent half my pool workout trying turns. Just trying to figure out how to do it.

Most were disasterous. Comedic, I'm sure too. But, then every time I got in the pool...I would try a few. And then a few more. And they slowly got better. Now, while they're probably not "good", they are at least "effortless" from my perspective. Fluid, if you will. I know they're faster than open turns...all I have to do is swim next to someone who's the same pace...or even faster than me.

But, I do think they make me swim faster as a whole. Probably all mental. But, it feels to me like a rhythm thing. When I'm sharing the lane and it gets tight at the wall, I don't always do them. Any other turn feels....."violent". Like hard breaking and not having a chance to downshift and having to get going again in a high gear.

Whether it makes me faster or not, I can zone out and get through a pool swim with less agro. I just get in, zone out....wait for my watch to beep and try not to think about anything else. Makes life easier for me. That's all.

Edited by jhaack39 2017-07-05 10:52 AM
2017-07-05 2:27 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by Left Brain

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 




Yeah...but that's not WHY they beat you.

If you've got someone that's a novice swimmer, they'll get more gains spending X amount of hours correcting the 15 things glaringly wrong with their stroke than spending that same amount of time learning flip turns.
2017-07-05 2:48 PM
in reply to: dmiller5

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by dmiller5

do Tennessee turns instead




X2


2017-07-05 6:11 PM
in reply to: 3mar


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by 3mar

Originally posted by Left Brain

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 



they'll get more gains spending X amount of hours correcting the 15 things glaringly wrong with their stroke than spending that same amount of time learning flip turns.


For sure. It would be non-sensical for an average triathlete swimmer to be spending a reasonable amount of time practising tumble turns, but if you can do a basic on, stick at it, even if it's slower than an open turn. Every lap you do, you TT and as time goes on you'll improve. But actually not swimming and simply doing TT drills, swimming to wall flipping and repeat, to get better at them - no, I wouldn't do that, unless you have time to kill.
2017-07-05 8:26 PM
in reply to: 0


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Sarasota, Florida
Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
I plan to stick with them for a while. I want to learn them, but my stance is they might be necessary for a swimmer but I'm not convinced they will help my performance during a race. If I spend precious time underwater kicking instead of swimming full stroke. It seems through my inexperienced intuition that the effort it takes to flip and resurface has less benefit than putting that effort into maintaining a tougher pace from your stroke alone. Tennessee turns are similar to what I usually do albeit above the water. I don't actually hang and do a half hearted kick around with my face right back in to take out the extra breathing time as well as propulsion from the wall kick which isn't available OWS.

Yes, I do agree with intervals. It makes sense coming from running why that will make you faster though I was hesitant to accept doing ONLY intervals as beneficial but now I'll settle near that camp. To me this isn't like an interval though. It's a not swimming harder just breathing less and adding pushing into the workout which has no place in an OWS.

Maybe I will change my mind in the future.
Thank you for the replies.

Edited by runtim23 2017-07-05 8:26 PM
2017-07-05 9:15 PM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by runtim23

I plan to stick with them for a while. I want to learn them, but my stance is they might be necessary for a swimmer but I'm not convinced they will help my performance during a race. If I spend precious time underwater kicking instead of swimming full stroke. It seems through my inexperienced intuition that the effort it takes to flip and resurface has less benefit than putting that effort into maintaining a tougher pace from your stroke alone. Tennessee turns are similar to what I usually do albeit above the water. I don't actually hang and do a half hearted kick around with my face right back in to take out the extra breathing time as well as propulsion from the wall kick which isn't available OWS.

Yes, I do agree with intervals. It makes sense coming from running why that will make you faster though I was hesitant to accept doing ONLY intervals as beneficial but now I'll settle near that camp. To me this isn't like an interval though. It's a not swimming harder just breathing less and adding pushing into the workout which has no place in an OWS.

Maybe I will change my mind in the future.
Thank you for the replies.


Forget about whether it will help your performance in a race, very simply - see what a top swimmer is doing and emulate them. If they do flip turns, then do them. And dealing with oxygen debt helps your OWS. The standard of swimming in triathlon is generally pretty crap, there are a ton of triathletes that don't give too hoots about the swim and make very little effort to improve their swimming claiming it's of little importance. Well I disagree. The only top AGers that have podiumed in 70.3s that aren't good swimmers have either been elite cyclists or runners. Additionally, whilst the swim may not account for a significant portion of the race, something I realised this season is how much poor swimmers struggle on the bike because of the swim. I routinely beat guys on the bike that are much quicker than me in training, my FTP is 230 theirs would be 280+, yet I'd beat them by 2 - 3 minutes over a 70.3 course, this always puzzled me, I just thought I upped it during a race, but had a chat with one guy who said it took him to half way through the bike leg to recover from the swim. Another guy reckoned he missed a spot on the podium because he overcooked it on the swim?? I'm coming out of the swim (especially wetsuit legal) barely out of breath and have recovered after 2kms on the bike. I think what it comes down to, people can't swim, they put in a bit of effort for a few months, make little progress and then give up. Which is fine for me If you want to go somewhere with triathlon, then learn to swim or take up duathlon.

Edited by zedzded 2017-07-05 9:17 PM
2017-07-05 10:06 PM
in reply to: zedzded

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Just some thoughts. You may be like me and can be stubborn and will do things a little different. If you work really hard at it and have considerable natural talent you can be annoyingly successful at it. I personally would work as hard as possible to do what is generally acceptable. If for some reason you just can't do it for whatever reason and have given it a reasonable shot then try to adapt it in a way that works for you.

When I'm doing a flip turn I think of it as blowing off C02 rather than breathing in 02. There's pretty much 02 in your lungs at any given time. It tends to take it's time in passing through the membrane so as long as there's blood passing by your red blood cells can extract quite a bit. C02 on the other hand passes immediately and any decrease in ventilation will result in a pretty rapid shift in concentration making your brainstem go nuts. Probably does not though result in a measurable performance drop especially over a 2 or 3 second lapse. I take a deep breath in before I hit the wall, I slowly blow it out while doing the flip turn, I push off the wall as hard as I can, I go as far as I can under water, and when I hit the surface I take a really big breath in. The next thing I do may or not work for you, if I'm feeling a little short of breath at that stage I can try to exhale against resistance. For some odd reason this makes me feel a little better. I train at 3600 feet so there is a little altitude effect so I don't know if this helps for that.

I feel your pain of exerting yourself as hard as possible and then suddenly be without air. It's pretty unnerving and is probably a little different experience for all of us. I like to think you're doing this because you get some enjoyment or satisfaction from it. Do what works for you.
2017-07-06 6:30 AM
in reply to: 3mar

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

Originally posted by 3mar
Originally posted by Left Brain

Swimmers do flip turns, and they beat you in every triathlon swim....open water and all. 

Yeah...but that's not WHY they beat you. If you've got someone that's a novice swimmer, they'll get more gains spending X amount of hours correcting the 15 things glaringly wrong with their stroke than spending that same amount of time learning flip turns.

I wouldn't argue that.....and I think the sentiments about simply spending more time swimming are correct too.  But it's not like you have to spend an hour a day learning to flip turn.  A few minutes each session will get you there.....if that's what you want to do.  I just get sideways with the idea that it's not necessary or it won't help you become a better swimmer.  For a novice, ANYTHING that helps get a better feel for the water is a good thing, and necessary.  It's like people who can actually swim really well forgot how they got there.  Even Thomas, in his article, readily admits that he spent years doing flip turns when he swam....just like all swimmers do.

Triathlon swimming is not special......it's swimming.



2017-07-06 12:24 PM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

You are free to do what you wish.  

I did open turns for a long time, even when I lifeguarded.  Because I never swam competitively, I had no reason to learn them...and didn't for a long time.  I eventually decided I *should* learn them even if there aren't walls every 25 yards in the open water.  

It does help with rhythm.  

It does improve your confidence in the water, especially being face-up under water.  If you've ever been rolled over by breaker wash (or a competitor) or had to flip onto your back to catch your breath, you'll appreciate this confidence.  

There are a couple other training-only benefits:

With flip turns, you spend more time swimming and less time talking.  For me, it seems open turn = invitation to interrupt.  

With flip turns, you can clear out wall urchins (especially if your flips are as inconsistent as mine).  

With flip turns (especially as inconsistent as mine), you are more likely to have the lane to yourself.    

2017-07-06 2:24 PM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
Originally posted by McFuzz
With flip turns (especially as inconsistent as mine), you are more likely to have the lane to yourself.    




Yep, I use this tool myself.
2017-07-06 7:57 PM
in reply to: 0


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Sarasota, Florida
Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing
I enjoyed reading your blog, ThomasGerlach. You reverberate my thoughts.


Just my experience, but I did open turns for about a year and a half. I felt like I could do them faster than flip turns and I also didn't get that oxygen deprivation feeling. Around August last summer, I decided I would start attempting to do flip turns because I was the only person in my swim club that wasn't doing them. I did notice my times slowed down for the first few weeks to a month. After, when I started getting more comfortable with exhaling slowly through the turn and a constant form, my times became faster than just doing an open turn. It took a lot of dedication to stick with the flip turn for weeks, but I am happy I did it.

I would recommend adding in 'middies' to the end of each of your sets. These are five to ten laps where you start in the center of the pool and do fifty meters, two flips turns, and stop back in the center of the pool before the next one. I often do these on the minute, but that's just what I found worked for me. Really focus on fast turns, a strong push off the wall and not breathing right before you flip. Although tempting, taking a breath a stroke or two before the turn causes you to loose speed. There are a ton of other drills to aid in getting better with flip turns too.


That's a good idea and might be a fun way to change things up.


When I'm doing a flip turn I think of it as blowing off C02 rather than breathing in 02.
There's pretty much 02 in your lungs at any given time. It tends to take it's time in passing through the membrane so as long as there's
blood passing by your red blood cells can extract quite a bit.
C02 on the other hand passes immediately and any decrease in ventilation will result in a pretty rapid shift in concentration making your brainstem go nuts.
Probably does not though result in a measurable performance drop especially over a 2 or 3 second lapse.

I take a deep breath in before I hit the wall, I slowly blow it out while doing the flip turn, I push off the wall as hard as I can, I go as far as I can under water, and when I hit the surface I take a really big breath in.

The next thing I do may or not work for you, if I'm feeling a little short of breath at that stage I can try to exhale against resistance.
For some odd reason this makes me feel a little better. I train at 3600 feet so there is a little altitude effect so I don't know if this
helps for that.


I enjoy swimming. That's one reason I want to learn these but I'm still on the fence with the other strokes.
Too little time to bike and run.

I wish I could understand what you mean by exhaling into resistance, maybe lifting your head while blowing forward?
I think some of it is mental due to it feeling new right now, but it's starting to feel more rhythmic.
I remember doing a fast one, kicking off hard and straight while going past the tail of my trail thinking that looks neat,
then my lungs felt like a vacuum sucking at their own walls screaming for air. I came up and involuntarily gasped for breath.
I wish I could convince myself of that O2 fact. haha
I think I need to get that slooww exhale part down.

Triathlon is a weird phenomenon. It starts off painful, gets a little better with its uncomfortable moments but feels liberating
and rewarding for several hours after a hard workout. You can keep pushing your limits. It's nice to experience that.


Edited by runtim23 2017-07-06 7:58 PM
2017-07-09 4:23 PM
in reply to: runtim23

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Subject: RE: Not Convinced with the Flip Turn Thing

The reference to "pretentious" is weird, as that is generally a put down.

So triathletes that flip turn are pretentious? 

Generally I disagree and think that flip turns properly done will make one a better swimmer.  But definitely not required, I have a friend that does open turns in the pool due to back issues and he's pretty fast in OW.  I do not agree that open turns are "better" for OW swims either.

Everyone should do what they want.  And not put others down for doing something differently.  Just my ,02

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