Chapter Twelve
The Home Pool



Swimming Turn-Overs

Before advancing to the Back Crawl and Inverted Back Stroke you should become adept at turning over while swimming the strokes that you've already learned. There may be situations where you become too tired to swim (described in previous chapters,) and need to float on your back. In other cases, it may be imperative to swim fast when on your back, and you must turn quickly to swim the Front Crawl. While swimming in open water you may have to get away from a boat's wake. Even in a pool it's sometimes necessary to move faster than an Elementary Back Stroke.

This lesson offers progressions for the turns; first turning from front to back on this page and from back to front on page Twelve~B. After you have mastered them see Chapter Thirteen for the Back Crawl.



(Please Refer to illustrations.)

1--Push off at shallow end. Perform prone float, kick, arm stroke and rhythmic breathing for the Front Crawl. Swim at least twenty feet or three complete strokes with breathing. (one complete stroke constitutes a Pull, Lift, Arch and Dip with each arm in turn).

2--At the next breathing-side Pull, bring arm back harder than usual.

3--The Pull should be strong enough to turn your head with opposite ear still in water, but face is exposed to air. The breathing side shoulder lies on the water's surface with the body partially on its back.

4--Continue turning body in direction of breathing side. The move will bring your legs and body into a supine position.

5--Maintain back float position for several seconds, then swim the Elementary Backstroke.

5--Practice Front to Back turns until mastered.



1--The most common problems are lifting the head and/or bending at the waist during the Pull. Be sure that your body is floating and in a straight line as you turn. Think of the body as a log rolling from one side to the other.

2--Indefinite moves. Whether rolling onto back or front, the move must be hard and quick. If you move too slowly, the turn cannot be accomplished.

3--Bending and bringing legs upward. While turning, some people have a tendency to bring knees up toward their chests. This makes the waist bend forward. Be sure legs are straightened out during the turn. Knees must be slightly bent to better negotiate the turn, but not lifted up to the chest.

4--Flailing arms. Make sure that breathing-side arm and shoulder are lifted up and back in direction of the turn. Flailing generally is the result of indecision which, of course, prevents any turn at all.

5--Unable to complete the turn.This is usually an arm problem. In turning from front to back, the upper, or turning-side arm, is usually not pulling hard enough. Also, hips and/or legs may fail to turn over when the arm pulls back for the turn. In addition, the turn-side arm may be dragging instead of pulling back and pushing down into the water as the body begins to move onto its side. Arms and legs may be "out of synch," as well, with one set moving slower than the other.

The best way to remedy the problems above is to practice the turns while concentrating on each of the listed errors until you discover which one(s) applies. You may also have someone check the list while watching you practice the turns.


Click on the picture for next page and illustrations for the Back to Front Turn.

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