I will say outright that perfecting flip-turns won’t help much for open water swimming, but they are still important. Why flip turns are on this list is due to a couple of little known ways that they bring your fitness to a whole new level. The stronger you make your flip turns, the more you can strengthen other parts of your stroke that will have benefits such as taking your first stroke without breathing off the wall and kicking with a butterfly dolphin kick to get to the surface. For these reasons, be sure to practice and strengthen your flip turns.
Reach and Extend
Reaching in the swim stroke occurs after your arm drops into the water before you begin your pull and finish. The farther you reach, the more your body glides and becomes hydrodynamic in the water. Causing a streamlined effect, this body position is better for setting up for a strong pull and catch, making your pulling force increase and decreasing stroke count.
Par for a Four Stroke
Swim golf is fun to play, but it’s a swift reminder to work on your form if you have terrible technique. You can begin to fix this by restricting your breathing to every fourth or fifth stroke. The less you pause to take a breath, the faster you will be propelled forward, making you more hydrodynamic. In a nutshell, play golf and breathe less.
Picture for a moment a baby on its back gleefully kicking at the air. Compare this to most grown ups, who rarely kick unless they’re playing a game of soccer. Yes, even swimmers are notorious for not fully using the lower halves of their bodies. Kicks may only account for 3-10% of forward propulsion, but any little bit helps while you are racing towards the finish line. The lesson here is to strengthen your legs and don’t forget to kick heartily while in the water.