Having had a chance to watch and compete in a masters swim meet today, I was again struck by the importance of turns. This meet was a sprint meet – the USF March Madness Meet that consisted of 50s and 100s. Starts and turns are a HUGE part of races that short and you want to make sure you are absolutely solid on your turns.
In practice – attack those walls and do so at race pace. Set aside a couple of 25s at the end of practice that you do from mid pool. Build yourself up to an all out sprint into and out of the turn. You’ve got to practice them at speed so that you are on auto-pilot on race day. Be aggressive! You’ve got to take momentum into the wall to get momentum off the wall.
On open turns (fly, breast, fly to back, back to breast) the first bit of speed comes from staying low and compact going into the wall. The second bit of speed comes from spinning your knees up hard and fast to get those feet planted on the wall. The third bit of speed comes from getting into (and quickly) the most efficient streamline you can establish. The fastest you will ever be is off the dive. The second fastest you will ever be is coming off the wall on your turns. It is worth every bit of time you have to “sweat the small stuff” and practice, practice, practice.