Breakdown of the turn:
This transition is essentially half of a backstroke turn and half of a freestyle turn. As you come in to the wall on your back, cross your top arm across your face and reach for the wall. Do not turn past your side before touching the wall! A legal transition requires swimmers to not break the plane until their hand hits the wall. Rotate your hand so your fingers are pointing down when you touch the wall. When you touch the wall, touch on your side. Flip over, using your hand as leverage to twist your body, so your feet hit the wall while you are on your side. Push off in to a streamline and breaststroke pullout. Speed in to the wall creates momentum to help you through each phase of the turn.
If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around the transition as a whole, try this progression one-by-one:
- Start on your stomach! Swim freestyle into the wall, touch the wall with one hand. Then go in to a regular freestyle flip turn into a breaststroke pullout off the wall.
- Now focus on your hand placement. Stay on your stomach, but this time, when you touch the wall turn your hand so your fingers are pointing downwards. Use your hand to leverage your turn. Flip, and go into your breaststroke pullout.
- Switch to your side. Kick into the wall on your side with one arm out, working on the same hand position and flip.
- Once you feel comfortable on your side, try kicking in to the wall on your back. Focus on reaching your arm across your face, but do not rotate past your side! Touch the wall, fingers down, and flip into your breaststroke pullout.
- Next, switch to backstroke into the transition. Focus on stroke count and practicing the timing and using your momentum to take you through the rest of the turn progression.
Keep in mind that this turn takes practice. Have patience, take your time, and keep at it. This turn is the fastest back-to-breast transition in the pool when executed correctly.
Take a look at Olympic Gold Medalist Darian Townsend, who has this turn down pat!
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