A swim race is broken down into a start, turn, and free swimming phases. Although shorter, the start and turn are vital aspects of the race, especially races of shorter distances. Practicing the start and turn can improve ~0.1 seconds per phase, a large sum in longer races.
The easiest method for measuring start and turn performance is to measure speed and time to a fixed distance, typically 7.5 and/or 15 meters from the wall. Unfortunately, these methods do not isolate the start and turn, as each swimmer must perform stroking before the 15-meter park. If using the 15-meter distance overestimates the start and turn race segments.
Differences in Turns between Elite and Regional Swimmers
- Traveled longer off the walls during butterfly and backstroke start and turns and the 200-m breaststroke turn.
- Male swimmers had longer distances in all race segments, regardless of skill.
- The start and turn distances represented less than 24% for the 100-m and 22% of the 200-m races.
- The average velocity was faster for all the elite swimmers than the regional swimmers during all races.
- Differences in average velocity between race segments were obtained for all the events, regardless of the swimmers’ performance level or gender. The starting speed was 0.5–0.8 m/s faster than the free swimming speed, and average turning speed was 0.1–0.3 m/s faster than the free swimming speed.
What the Individual Test Demonstrated
These results showed measuring simply to 15-meters accounts for 2 – 5 meter of excessive measurement.
3 Tips for Elite Swimming Turns
- If you are a butterfly or backstroke specialist seeking improvements, improving your dolphin kick speed and distance is essential.
- Also, swimmers can improve their underwater kicking by starting their kicking after gliding in the speed range of 1.9 – 2.2 m/s. This could enhance their kicking distance ~1 meter.
- For breaststroke swimmers, perform longer glides during your underwater phase for the 200-meter distance.
- Veiga S, Cala A, G Frutos P, Navarro E. Comparison of starts and turns of national and regional level swimmers by individualized-distance measurements. Sports Biomech. 2014 Sep;13(3):285-95. doi: 10.1080/14763141.2014.910265. Epub 2014 Jun 13.