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Here's Step #3 in our 5-step sequence for learning the flip turn. Even if your flip turns are pretty good, this drill will help make them faster by making you more aware of your hands and arms.

Why Do It:

In Step #1, you used a Styrofoam noodle to help you tumble STRAIGHT OVER on your flip turn.

In Step #2, you used a noodle and then two pull buoys to help you flip without using your hands and arms to get around.

In Step #3, you'll take away the equipment, and see if you can flip straight over and without using your hands. By kicking into the wall rather than SWIMMING into the wall, you can stay relaxed, break some old habits, and keep the feeling of weightless hands that you learned in Step #2.

How To Do It:
1. Stand in the shallow end, just inside the flags and facing the wall.
2. Put your hands behind you, with palms facing UP.
3. Take a big breath, put your face in the water, and kick toward the wall. Keep your arms extended behind you and IMAGINE that you are holding the noodle or the pull buoys in your hands.
4. When you get about 2 feet from the wall, do a straight-over somersault and push off on your back.
5. When you somersault, don't do ANYTHING with your arms.
6. If you do this correctly, your hands and arms should be above your head when your feet hit the wall.
7. Bring your hands quickly into streamline and push off on your back.

If you started to use your hands, as this swimmer is doing...

Go back to Step #2 and do a few more flips with the pull buoys, to get the feeling of WEIGHTLESS hands.

Then try again with no equipment. Keep everything nice and relaxed. Don't worry about getting a big pushoff or a fast flip. Just think about your hands -- and pretend you're still holding the noodle or the pull buoys.

If you find that you're heading straight to the bottom when you push off, check the position of your hands as you initiate the turn. This swimmer drops her hands as she initiates the flip, and she ends up too deep.

Here, she keeps her hands more weightless and near the surface, and her feet hit the wall at a better depth.

Keep these images in your mind as you practice. And come back for Step #4 next week.