Swimming Technique: How To Do A Freestyle Turn

Dive in and discover how to effectively execute the freestyle turn.

July 31, 2016

Improve your performance and efficiency in the pool with the freestyle turn. This swimming technique can help you change direction and start new laps quickly, avoid a stop-start approach and advance your level of proficiency.


This step-by-step guide will help you master the move.


How to Do It


Step 1


During the last few strokes of your lap, make sure you have visibility of the wall. This practice is also known as sighting the wall. This will help you adjust your stroke pattern as needed, so you can execute an effective turn without losing any speed. Your last stroke should be full and extended to help you gain momentum into the turn.


Step 2


About one full arm’s length away from the wall, begin the turn by pulling your leading arm backwards and pressing your chin onto your chest. As your head moves down, your hips will shift into an upward V shape. Complete the somersault movement by pulling your knees into your chest.


Your feet should be moving over your body, towards the wall and ready to push off. Keep your knees tucked in — smaller shapes rotate faster than larger ones. As you do this, pull your hands through the water from your hips to your head. This also helps with a faster, more efficient rotation.


Step 3


When your feet make contact with the wall, your knees should be bent at 90 degrees. This ensures that you get the most power from your push off the wall. Your back should be straight with your arms extended over your head.


To push off the wall, drive your legs and point your toes. Maximize your overall distance by aiming for a straight line. Adjust your foot plant on the wall until you find the angle that’s best for you. Also, your knees and feet can point towards the side of the pool instead of the surface of the water — both styles are effective.



  • As you approach the turn, try different stroke lengths to find the one that’s right for you
  • Practice your turns away from the wall to perfect the somersault movement
  • During the turn, exhale air so water doesn’t go up your nose
  • For faster rotations, use a small dolphin kick as you press your chin onto your chest

And remember, practice makes perfect.