Starts and Turns

Fig.1. The importance of streamlining. “Dead Swimmer’ sequence from ‘The Swim Drills Book’ Ruben Guzman

Warm Up

50s FC and BC with emphasis on smooth swimming and long legs. I run through in a multitude of adjectives:

  • Slinky
  • Smooth
  • Silent
I draw on drills from Ruben Guzman’s ‘The Swim Drill Book’
  • Smooth
  • Sneaky

Send them on a secret mission

What works wonders with the younger swimmers is to tell them that they are ‘secret agents’ on a ‘secret mission’ and have to swim in the dark without being seen or heard.The result can be highly controlled, smooth swimming – just the kind of thing you’d hope for from a squad rather than a teaching group.

I centre everything on streamlining in starts and turns so start off where I usually end with a streamlined bounce, a handstand with emphasis on long legs and pointy toes, then a cannon ball and somersault.

Fun activities include:

  • Streamlined bounce off the bottom. Jack in the box style trying to touch the 5m flags, or the length of the pool.
  • Mushroom float
  • Summersault
  • Canon-ball summersault over the side of the pool – taught in an ASA Course
  • Canon-ball backwards fall over the side of the pool
  • Sea Otter – a series of playful duck dives the length of the pool

The formal sequence into starts and turns:

  • glide out to the flags (or beyond)
  • glide and add a few dolphin kicks
  • then glide, dolphin kick a single stroke of FC and tumble (flip)
  • then glide, dolphin kick and two strokes.
  • do Fly here as it is appropriate to do so

Repeat on the back with backstroke

Then with breastroke.

From the centre of the pool do turns into the wall, potentially with swimmers heading off to opposite ends of the pool and meeting in the middle. This can be done as a relay. A large float can be used for bouyancy.

Fig.2 Dive, flight, entry, glide. From ‘The Swim Drill Book’ by Ruben Guzman.

From a dive:

  • Glide
  • Glide and add the BR underwater stroke
  • the full BR transition
  • And from 10 m out all the turns.

And with time spare some fun activities and efforts to fault correct.

Starts and Turns with Grade 5 swimmers (age 8 to 11)

Sleeping dolphin in captivity. A tail kick ref...

Sleeping dolphin in captivity. A tail kick reflex keeps the dolphin’s blowhole above the water if necessary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starts and Turns with Grade 5 swimmers (age 8 to 11)

Starts and turns today.

Also Half Term when typically, as today a good few may not show. Easier for me to take two groups too, both Grade 5. I was able to have five boys in one lane and five girls in the other.

A warm up of 50m FC. ‘Long legs’ was my command, with a long glide off the wall and out of the turn too. Then 50m BC.

Then into a mushroom float. Then the sequence ‘dead swimmer, straightening up into the streamlined position’ with a dolphin kick into FC and away. X25m of these starting well away from the wall on the ‘T’ at the end of the lane line , and from the Deep End under the flags.

Then a push and glide, seeing how far they can get. Adding a dolphin kick, on both front and back. Then a tumble turn, on front and back. With BC we counted the strokes from the flags to the wall, most did this in 7 strokes so knew to roll onto their front to tumble on the 6th stroke.

With breaststroke BS, I wanted a pivot turn and the correct transition, so a 3 second glide, keyhole arms and a 2 second glide, then sneak the arms up and away.

Having done all the turns I sent them to the Deep End doing a streamlined bounce the whole way.

At the Deep end they got out. To start off they did a jump from the block, legs apart, toes over the edge swinging their arms to jump as far as they can. Then I asked them to topple forwards like a tree and jump. Finally I asked them to topple and ‘jump dive’. Then, as in the shallow end a dive and glide, then a dive and glide with a dolphin kick. Afterwards a dive into BS with the transition. And from in the water a BC start.

We ended, if we handed run out of time, with somersaults, or sitting on the bottom of the pool..

I repeated this, more or less for three sessions. I only had one swimmer in the second session so he had a private lesson in effect. As he still drops his arms to his side on BS I hsd s go and tackling this in various ways, from a Woggle under the arms, to sculling and 2 kicks one arm pull