How to Make an Olympic Turn in Crawl Swimming: 8 Steps

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How to Make an Olympic Turn in Crawl Swimming: 8 Steps
How to Make an Olympic Turn in Crawl Swimming: 8 Steps

Olympic turns are mainly used in front crawl or coast stroke, although the latter requires a slightly different technique. In this article, the step-by-step steps to perform a perfect Olympic turn in the crawl will be explained. The main purpose of this maneuver is to transfer all accumulated momentum in one direction in the exact opposite direction, resulting in faster times for both professional and amateur competitors. This technique must be learned by all swimmers. Have fun learning!


Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 1

Step 1. Make sure your goggles are securely fastened and enter the pool

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 2

Step 2. Start swimming crawl style

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 3

Step 3. When you are approximately 5 meters from the wall, kick your legs harder as this will make the turn easier

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 4

Step 4. Make sure you have enough air in your lungs

However, do not inhale just before starting the turn, as this will stop your arms from moving and consequently lose speed.

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 5

Step 5. Swim until you are close enough to the wall

In the beginning, it will be difficult to define the right moment, especially since this distance depends on the length of your legs.

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 6

Step 6. Complete the last arm strike

Once your arm enters the water, dip your head and continue to kick your legs (this will drive the turn). During the somersault, exhale through your nose to prevent water from entering your nose.

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 7

Step 7. You will finish the belly-up and underwater movement

The most efficient way to push yourself is to do it with your back to the bottom of the pool, rather than turning into the crawl position before pushing. Place both feet against the wall and push yourself up really hard with your whole body submerged. You must turn to the crawl position before reaching the surface or kicking again.

Do to Flip Turn (Freestyle) Step 8

Step 8. Swim for five meters underwater using the butterfly stroke kicks before reaching the surface and resuming the crawl


  • The goggles should be snug to prevent them from moving or water from entering during the push.
  • An essential point for a well-executed Olympic turn is to know exactly when to start the moves, that is, how far away from the wall to be before doing the somersault. If the distance is not ideal, the turn is compromised.
  • Pushing yourself well against the wall is critical to maximizing your underwater space.
  • After doing the somersault and reaching the wall with your feet, the hardest part is over. The push is the easiest and most enjoyable part.
  • Because the Olympic turns require the head to be submerged for a few seconds, you'll have fewer opportunities to breathe deeply while swimming. This means that this is a more anaerobic exercise, and therefore it is important to maximize the amount of air you take in every breath.
  • To get consistently good turns, you should wear a quality pair of goggles that allow you to see the bottom of the pool clearly and in detail.
  • Many swimmers use a reference point at the bottom of the pool, such as the end of painted lines, to decide the exact time to start the turn. Some athletes start the somersault right at the end of the line; others a few centimeters later; and others a few centimeters earlier. This all depends on the length of the swimmer's legs, his speed and how he does the somersault.
  • The Olympic turn also strengthens the muscles in the legs and abdomen. Without it, the arms are responsible for 80% to 85% of the effort, while the legs make the other 15% or 20%. With the Olympic turns, however, the legs have to work a lot harder, making about 30% of the total effort. This helps balance the work done by the arms, legs and abdomen while swimming.
  • Mastering Olympic turns takes practice, but once you learn to complete them to perfection, you'll have a huge advantage over your competitors.
  • Use your hips and buttocks as the pivots of the somersault. When your legs pass over your head, they should be slightly bent at the knees, but the center point of rotation should be your hips and buttocks.
  • Once you internalize the movements of the Olympic turn, it will be like riding a bicycle. Everything will happen naturally and the effort required will be minimal. Your body will instinctively know how to act. On the other hand, it will always be necessary to reason to decide the ideal distance to the wall before starting the turn, since just a few centimeters more or less can significantly compromise the somersault.
  • When your head comes back to the surface, use proper crawl breathing techniques so that only a small part of your face is out of the water, but without compromising the amount of oxygen you will inhale.
  • When gliding underwater, focus on keeping your body in the most hydrodynamic shape possible, reducing water resistance as much as possible. Visualize a dolphin gliding through the water at this time.
  • You must know how to do an underwater somersault.
  • Turning 0.9 m from the wall provides efficiency and speed benefits because you will be touching the wall with your feet rather than your hands. The trunk doesn't have to go to the wall; only your feet.
  • A well-executed turn can easily push a liter of water out of the pool. In time, someone will need to replenish this water. A sizable splash, followed by a noise like "woosh" and combined with fluid movement is a definite indicator that the swimmer knows how to execute the Olympic turn with precision.
  • In the beginning, swim to the wall and as soon as your fingertips touch it, start the flip motion. Repeat this procedure swimming at speed to get used to this technique.


  • If water often enters your nose, exhale through it during the somersault.
  • When swimming face down, make sure you have enough air to complete the turn.
  • You shouldn't start the turn too close to the wall, as this will slow you down, forcing you to complete the maneuver in a tight space.
  • When swimming face down, always look at the wall or you can easily hit it with your head.
  • At first, be careful that your feet hit the edge of the pool as this can be extremely painful. Many swimmers experience this when they are learning to complete their first Olympic turns.
  • Don't start turning too far from the wall!
  • Make sure there's no one swimming right behind you or you'll bump into each other after your push.
  • To see the wall clearly, be sure to buy good quality glasses.
  • If you are not an experienced swimmer, check to see if there is a lifeguard on duty.

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