Kenyon’s David Fitch Flip-Turns His Way to New NCAA D3 100 Fly Record


At last year’s NCAA championship, Kenyon’s David Fitch turned heads in his freshman debut, as he did flip turns on every wall of his 100 fly leg of the Lords’ 400 medley relay. Many of our readers were skeptical of this strategy, especially considering his split in the relay was almost a second slower than his previous best time, which was without the flip turns.

It appears, however, that the jury has reached a verdict. In the finals of the 100 fly at the 2019 NCAA DIII Championships, Fitch won the event en route to a new national record time of 46.92 – sporting flip turns at every wall along the way. That time is a 0.51 second drop from his prelims time of 47.43, as well as a 0.82 second drop from his previous best of 47.74 from Kenyon’s mid season invite, which was also with the flip-turns.

Note: In order for a butterfly/breaststroke flip turn to be legal, the swimmer must first touch the wall with two hands before initiating the flip.

Here’s a comparison of the splits from the previous and current records:

Reed Dalton 3/17/2015 David Fitch 3/21/2019
First 50 22.03 21.74
Second 50 24.94 25.18
FINAL TIME 46.97 Old Record
46.92 *NEW RECORD*

Although he’s getting less oxygen off the walls without the breath from the open turn, Fitch managed to hit roughly 12.5 yards off of every wall; and he wasn’t even breathing every stroke when he was up. He’s a short and stocky guy – perhaps his size helps him get a shorter stroke into the wall, which is likely necessary to execute the turn fast. Either way, the strategy seems to be paying dividends for the sophomore.

Fitch finished 5th in the 50 free on night with a 20.08. He’s scheduled to swim the 100 back tomorrow, where he’s seeded second with a 47.89.

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2 years ago

Open turn is still better

Reply to  Boomcobson
2 years ago

Haters gonna hate… FWIW, they’ve timed his turns both with and without a flip, including with an accelerometer, and he is faster with the flip. Keep on talkin’ though…

2 years ago

And how is this legal is he’s on his back for a point during the flip turn aren’t you not allowed to rotate in butterfly

Reply to  Boomcobson
2 years ago

The rules are very clear, and articulated at the end of the article, the swimmer must be on the breast, touch the wall with both hands separated, and turn in any manner. The shoulders need to be at or past vertical toward the breast when the swimmers’ feet leave the wall. Turning in any manner is really fun with younger swimmers. Love the innovation David!

Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Very good explanation of the rule except FINA and USA Swimming changed the rule about 2 years ago, shoulders now have to be past vertical towards the breast when the swimmers’ feet leave the wall.

Craig's Panini
2 years ago

THE JURY IS IN!! Sko lords