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by Abbie Fish

January 3, 2020

These three things will help you have a faster turn

The backstroke flip turn is very similar to the freestyle flip turn but has a few more steps. Even with these extra steps, here’s how you can get off the wall faster.

Know Your Stroke Count(s)

The first step is to know your stroke count from the backstroke flags to your rolling over. Although this might seem obvious, most coaches only talk about having one stroke count, but that doesn’t make any sense.

If you increase or decrease your speed because of the race distance, you will not only change the distance traveled per stroke but also the time needed to complete that distance. Inevitably, this means your stroke count will change too. If you swim all three backstroke events, the 50, 100, and 200, you should have a stroke count for each race distance, and you should be practicing those stroke counts during sets to ensure you’re ready for your meet.

Your Last Stroke

You need to nail your final stroke heading into the wall. I prefer to use my right arm and roll toward my left as I initiate my backstroke turn, but it doesn’t which arm you use. Just make sure you’re picking an arm and rolling away from it.

The key here is to make sure you’re rolling your body as one, continuous unit. Drive your head down under the water and eventually touch your chin to your chest. Getting your chin to your chest will help you carry your momentum into the wall and through your somersault.

Push Off on Your Back

The final part of a good backstroke turn is pushing off from the wall while on your back. A lot of swimmers try to flip and twist at the same time. This causes a weaker push because your body is twisted and allows for inconsistency with your turn.

By pushing off on your back, you make sure you’re in a mini-squat position, with your back parallel to the bottom of the pool and your fingertips pointing to the opposite wall. This position allows for the best push-off while increasing accuracy of where you’ll go after your feet leave the wall.

There’s no better way to learn these things than to see them in action. Be sure to check out my video analysis below and learn how to implement them into your next backstroke race.


  • Technique and Training


  • Backstroke