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News June 2022

Keep up to date with what's happening at Dartes and performance swimming in Doncaster. This page records the news as it happens -- history in the making!

The Stories behind the Headlines

Turn Speed

10 Jun 2022: For every swimmer, starts and turns are critical. Let's focus on the latter for a few minutes and think about the aspects that make or break a turn. Is the list below more than you expected?

  1. Approach
  2. Touch
  3. Rotation
  4. Push+Glide
  5. Fly Kicks
  6. Transition to Surface

Any swimmer has absolute control over their level of skill for each of those points. Spend a couple of minutes thinking about them, and write down what you need to get right to improve each one. In this article we're going to look at just one of those aspects: rotation speed.

When you look at turn rotations in isolation, there are only three variants:

  1. Open Turn (Fly, Br, Fly/Bc, Br/Fc)
  2. Tumble Turn (Fc, Bc)
  3. Cross Over (Bc/Br)

Being fast at those three variants comes down to agility, focus, and practice. It's often the neglected skill, the bit we all take for granted. It's just a change of direction afterall, what's so special about it? How much is a simple rotation going to impact your race speed? Can you even improve it to any meaningful extent?

Oh yes, this one is important all right, let's take a deeper look using a sample from P5 this morning.

The table below shows a typical spread of times that could have been any squad, anywhere in the world. On each turn we're timing from hand to feet; that means hand touch to feet touch on an open turn, or hand entry to feet touch on a tumble turn. The general rule for any turn is to hit 0.8sec or faster - that's a big gold star. You get a silver star for breaking the 1sec mark, a bronze star for being inside 1.2sec. Anything from 1.2sec upwards simply isn't good enough (actually anything over 1sec isn't competitive).

Cazia0.9 - 1.40.7 - 0.91.1 - 1.51.2
Connie1.1 - 1.50.9 - 1.00.9 - 1.20.6 - 1.0
Greta1.3 - 1.50.8 - 0.91.2 - 1.60.9 - 1.9
Harrison1.0 - - 0.91.1 - 1.4
Kenny1.0 - - 1.2
Louie1.6 -
Molly1.0 - 1.10.9 (fly)1.0
Nathan1.0 - 2.70.9 - - 1.6
Rose0.8 - 1.30.8 - 0.90.8 - 1.00.8 - 1.1

Our range of times spreads from 0.6sec for Connie Crowther (Drn) performing a lightning fast Bc/Br Crossover, all the way up to 2.7 for a lazy Freestyle tumble turn. Most are around 1-1.5sec - so on the slow side. That's a needless 0.5sec added on for every turn in a race! It's going to have an impact. If there are two turns, you've just added a full second.

Practice makes Perfect Permanent.

Knee Tuck

Every turn relies on you being the smallest shape possible before the rotation. The agility aspect is the ability to tuck your knees tightly into your chest in an instant. Water is 10x thicker than air, if you leave your body open you waste time pushing it against water to change direction.

That's as relevant on an open turn as it is on a tumble turn. For a Crossover, without a tight tuck, you'll have problems getting all the way round. Practice whipping the knees into the chest, as tight as possible, every chance you get.


Practice makes Perfect Permanent.

Whatever you do a lot becomes a habit. Do lazy, slow turns in training and that's what your body gets good at executing. You will do that when you race. Make it a point of pride that you always execute race quality turn rotations. It takes very little additional effort, just focus and determination. You perform over 200 turns every session, make every single one count - take responsibility for your own habits.