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Are your turns getting faster?

posted May 12, 2014, 2:34 PM by Pat Windschitl   [ updated May 12, 2014, 2:34 PM ]
As you may have guessed, many of the articles that we write come from questions we are frequently asked by the coaches and athletes we work with. 


We have written a number of articles about turn technique in which we discuss things to look for and ways to improve your turns. The one thing we haven’t talked about is how to measure improvement. It’s one thing for a turn to look better (or faster), but without some sort of reference, how do we really know if we have made any real progress?


I started my research with freestyle, and specifically the 100, 200 and 400 events for men and women. I used the finals in each of these events from last year’s World Championships and tracked turn time for each of the 8 swimmers within a final heat. 


For our purposes, turn time refers to the time from when a swimmer’s head passes the flags (or 5 meters out from the wall) until that swimmer’s head passes the 15m mark. The total distance covered is 20m. I chose this method of measuring because turns are not just about the wall. We have to look at the approach as well as how a swimmer maintains speed once they come off the wall. My findings are below:
Freestyle turn times.
This information should serve as a benchmark for what the best in the world are doing, as well as providing a method to measure your own swimmers’ progress. 


For the complete data see below:

Men's Turn Times

Women's Turn Times