Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Performance analysis of the flip turn in swimming: The relationship between pressures and performance times

Christoph Clephas, Michael Foster, Pro Stergiou, Larry Katz


This study examined the effects of pressure and other kinetic variables on freestyle flip turn performance. It was hypothesized that an increase in average and peak pressure, and a decrease in the magnitude difference between left and right foot pressure, would result in an improved performance of a swimmer as they performed a flip turn. Ten University level (varsity) swimmers performed five freestyle flip turns using their competition technique. Data were collected from a pressure pad mounted to the vertical wall of the pool and from an underwater camera in the sagittal plane. A negative correlation of .58 and .67 was seen for average and peak pressures respectively when compared to five-meter performance times. Average contact area throughout the push-off phase compared to average and maximum load was .94 and .88. An increase in average contact area from 40 cm2 to 50 cm2 resulted in a 26% increase in maximum load. No difference in performance was seen for varying maximum knee flexion angles. Differences between pressure magnitudes between left and right foot did not impact the five-meter performance time. Therefore, increased average contact area throughout the push-off phase caused higher average and maximum loads, and to a lesser extent average and peak pressures. Increases in pressure and load resulted in an improved five-meter performance time. It is concluded that flip turn performance increases through higher contact area with the feet when pushing off the wall.


Biomechanics; Performance analysis; Swimming; Elite athletes; Flip turn


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