Many of my triathletes over the years have commented to me: “Why should I bother learning to flip, I swim in open water. We don’t have walls”. I quickly respond “Exactly. That’s why you should flip.” Doing open turns, or worse, a slow two-handed turn, gives you a chance to rest that open water will never give you. I have counted swimmers taking up to five breaths on an open turn. More if they actually stop and rest, even for a just a second or two. This “aerobic break” every 25 yards will hurt your yardage continuity.
This is when I remind athletes of their own words. “Open water does not have walls. You will not get a nice extra three, five, or more breaths every 25 yards.” In order to keep up the aerobic continuity, you need to get off the walls without taking a break.
The best way to do that is…. you guessed it…. flip.
Flips don’t take long to learn, but it does take a while to get consistent. The more you do the sooner you will be comfortable and consist with doing flip turns. So get going.
For my beginners, I realize a flip may be more advanced then you are ready for. As a stepping stone, learn a clean, one-handed, open turn and work on getting in and out without resting. Advance to a flip as your skills improve.
Up Next: Race Pace Training