Perfect Your Flip Turn With Natalie Coughlin

For many lap swimmers, the flip turn is a valuable tool in their training regimen. For many others, however, it is a slow, awkward manuever done only when no one is looking.

Yet regardless of your experience level, there is no better way to keep the flow of you stroke when turning at the wall. Whether you're seeking to be competitive in the water, or just want to make practice easier, perfecting your flip turn is an essential skill to learn.

Click on the video below to watch Olympian Natalie Coughlin demonstrate how to enter and exit the walls without loosing momentum or wasting valuable energy.


Ask Natalie

1. Natalie, how much do you practice?

The number of hours I spend training changes depending on the day of week, time of season and phase in training. I lift weights, do Pilates, run and do other cardio in addition to my swimming. Those hours definitely add up!

I like to tell people whether you like it or not, you're training 24/7. The choices that you make throughout the day (rest, nutrition, training, etc.) affect your training; therefore you're training all day long!

2. Natalie, you inspire me! Swim it girl! I regularly do triathlons and love to swim, but have a hard time with my kick. I know my legs are strong yet my kick always lags. It seems I barely kick at all and it is a three beat kick. When I work with the kickboard it seems OK, I just can't seem to incorporate it when I actually swim. I'm a lifeguard, too, and need those legs! Any tips?

I bet your problem probably lies in your flexibility. If your ankles are inflexible, they are not going to hold any water no matter how hard you kick. There are plenty of stretches to you can do to work on your ankle flexibility. It will take time and patience, but improving your ankle flexibility will greatly help your kick.

3. Natalie, you are amazing. Thank you for taking my question. Can you outline for us body position tips for freestyle (head position, flat shoulders vs. swimming on side, etc.)? Thanks!

Freestyle body position is simple. Imagine you have the perfect posture on land and that's your position in the water (except you are prone). You want your head in line with your body, looking at the bottom of the pool.

One of the biggest and most common mistakes that I see people make is looking forward while they swim. Look at the bottom of the pool and use the black lines to see where you are in relation to the wall. When you swim freestyle you should rotate your entire body from side to side, from the neck down. The only time your face is not facing the bottom is when you rotate to breathe. 

Searching for an answer on technique, training, nutrition or just swimming in general? Pose your question at H2O Audio's Ask Natalie page.

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