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If you've always wanted to learn how to do a flip turn (and what swimmer doesn't?), here's a fun drill that is step #1 in the learning process.

Over the next few weeks we'll present a 5-step sequence that will get you spinning and turning with ease - even if you thought you'd never be able to master this basic skill. Take your time with the process, have some fun with it, and in a few short weeks people will be coming to YOU for lessons.

Why Do It:
When doing a flip turn, one of the most common mistakes that swimmers make is using their hands and arms. Using the hands and arms may FEEL like the right thing to do, but it actually slows down your rotation. It also causes you to pause just before the pushoff... so that you can get your arms back in streamline.

Your flip turns will be faster, more efficient, and actually EASIER if you take your arms out of the equation. Notice how this swimmer flips by using her abs rather than her hands -- and how this puts her arms in perfect position to STREAMLINE when her feet hit the wall. And notice how she flips STRAIGHT OVER rather than turning to one side.

In this drill, you'll be using a noodle to help you learn to flip STRAIGHT OVER and without using your hands. Remember. This is Step #1 of a 5-part sequence. This will seem pretty basic, but just try it and please trust us that this will lead you where you want to go.

How To Do It:
1. Get a noodle. Many pools have these on deck for water-aerobics classes but, if not, you can find one at your local discount store for a couple of dollars.
2. Stand in the shallow end of the pool and grab hold of the noodle at both ends.
3. Take a big breath and get ready to exhale water through your nose.
4. Push off the bottom of the pool and do a forward somersault INSIDE the noodle.
Try to go STRAIGHT OVER and DON'T LET GO OF THE NOODLE.
Try not to pull back with the noodle, or push down on it. Remember -- DON'T USE YOUR HANDS TO HELP YOU FLIP.
5. After you flip, stand back up and get ready to try it again.
6. Once you get the hang of this drill, try speeding it up.
See how fast you can get around and get back on your feet.

Troubleshooting:
If your feet get caught in the noodle, you need to tuck up into a tighter ball and hold your tuck until you get all the way around.

If you can't get all the way around, tuck your chin and look back between your legs as you start your somersault. Think about sending your energy down and AROUND rather than just DOWN.

If you are holding just one end of the noodle when you stand up, you are probably not going straight over. HANG ON to the noodle with both hands. Don't let go.

If you are getting water up your nose, start exhaling BEFORE you start your somersault. And then keep exhaling till you regain your feet. Try noseclips if things get really bad.

But most important: JUST TRY IT. Stick with it... and stay tuned for Step #2.