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Tumble Turns!

hay welcome to the world of triathloning

i am pretty new to this to but i would say per length i gain around 3 or 4 meters when tumbling as it just saves so much time! if you are doing 600-800 meters your talking around 30 - 50 meters saved by doing tumble turns so my advice would be to do them if you can and if not practice makes perfect!!

also during a sprint race depending on the size of cource the lanes may be a bit congested. however swimmers are normally sent off in speed related groups so there shouldnt be too much overtaking! also they are sent of at intervals which also helps!!

hope this is usefull



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    Hello world!

    This is a quicky......when doing pool swim tri's, how many of you do tumble turns, how long will it take me to master them and how much time do they save you per turn?

    And....... because i've never done a triathlon before, what can i expect in the pool in terms of traffic?

    Love to hear from you all...

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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    Check the race(s) you are entered for allow tumble turns, some don't.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Jules is correct, lots of races dont allowit, so you get DSQ on the end ranking. I bet that is not much fun. Check it before race start at the briefing.
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    BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Welcome to the only TRI forum that counts!!!

    Benny and jules are right, tumble turns aren't always aloud.

    It seems open turns are the way. You need to master the push off from wall after open turning.

    I find it hard to get right and boy it looks odd but need must. Seems like you push off in sideways position.
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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    Also consider that if you get properly hooked doing tri, you may well want to up your distance to longer distance events - which would not normally be in a pool, but in open water. Even some sprint races are open water. So you might be learing a skill that is of limited value to you. You might be better off using the practice time on something else.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Last Friday I was enjoying my usual 3.8km set in the pool when another swimmer got in and started plodding up and down with the most awful tumble turn at the end of each length. I was just doing open or touch turns, he was doing this weird sideways variant of tumbling which was giving me about 3m per length on him.

    So... even if you are allowed to tumble it isn't necessarily the best. You need to get it pretty much exact to beat a decent touch turn taking into account the oxygen deficit too.

    I'm trying to perfect mine, but only because I'm a completist. My swim technique is fairly good so it is a logical next step. I wouldn't bother as a beginner. Like Jules said, your swim time is better spent elsewhere.

    In terms of traffic in the pool, you will usually be grouped in with other people who have made similar time estimates to you. In case you haven't filled the form in yet... you'll usually have to estimate your swim time, otherwise you get collisions. If your training goes well, you'll be putting your target 7:30 here. You will then be set off at 10s intervals with between (usually) 1 and 4 others in a single lane in a 25m pool. You all go around the same way. If the guy in front is in your way touch his toes a few times and he'll move over at the end of the lane; same applies if anybody touches your feet more than once.

    Some races do a system where you swim a couple of lengths then duck under the lane ropes into the next lane, working your way across the pool. It interrupts your swimming a bit I guess, but makes length counting easier.

    Do your training, get your kit sorted, turn up and see how it works.
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    Can't tell you all how much i appreciate your advise....thanks so much! I'm going toi drop the tumble turn idea and look into this 'open' turn you talk about...any pointers on instructions for this? Books, websites etc?

    I've filled the forms and put in my target of 7:30 - so i have until april 26th to take about 1 minute off my time!!!

    Just back from the gym....45mins moderate run, some drills in the pool, focused on the catch and pull, stroke down to 15 in a 20m pool....i think thats pretty good.....shame i can only do 4 lengths before the technique is completely lost.......

    thanks again
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    Hi Gary

    I agree with the underlying argument of the above posts (i.e. that you should work on your basic swim technique first and worry about tumble turns later), but I wouldn't say that you should rule out T-turns completely. I haven't yet used them in a triathlon but I have done a few pool based events where they were allowed, and from watching the other swimmers it seems that a bad tumble turn may be slower than a good touch turn, but a good tumble turn is definitely faster. Over the past 4 months I've been working on my T-turns and I'm now at the stage where I would happily use them in a 400m swim. At first, I got water up my nose every turn, used masses of effort to tumble, nearly ran out of air on each turn and ended up panting half way down the next length until I recovered, and usually got the timing so badly that my kick off was like a trabant at a drag race. However, practice makes perfect (or at least competent'ish). I can now turn without breaking my rythym or breathing cycle, use very little effort and get a good, relatively easy kick off every time - when I swim lengths alongside someone who is the same pace as me, I always manage to gain 2 or 3 metres on them at every turn.

    Regarding the alternatives, if you don't feel ready for tumble turns yet (i.e. your time would be better spent on breathing/catch up/rotation etc) then I would just go for a simple touch turn. Open water turns (where you don't touch the end or bottom of the pool) are only useful for pool sessions where you're trying to simulate open water practice - and even then I'm not convinced that they do anything except break your rythym. They certainly are no use in a race and are far slower than a touch or tumble turn - if you're allowed to use a kick off, as at all pool based tris, then it'd be a waste not to.

    The other argument for tumble turns, which Bopomofo mentions, is that they do just look damn good. OK, a crap tumble turn is as embarrassing as a footballer attempting and missing an overhead kick, but a perfect tumble turn is like a Pele moment. From reading other posts I'm pretty confident that the mass of red bikes, compression gear showing off newly rediscovered Abs, trisuits doing the same and shades that shriek of coolness are all partly bought for the 'look good' factor as well as for all their speed and practicality advantages - or is that just me?

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    agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Definitely agree with the above about working on your technique first, in most tris you will never use tumble turns, so concentrate on what is important first. Tumble turns take practice, I can do them, but it takes me the next length to recover from them, but its getting better.

    And of course everything we do, from flash carbon parts that we dont really need, to leg shaving (hope I dont start anything off here!) is all done because it looks good as well! [;)]
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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I don't do them, tried but stopped trying when I realised that the real thing happens in open water and they are not essential. I then reinvested the time in improving my stroke/swim speed.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Just to clarify (and thanks for picking up on it, Tiring) when I said 'open' or 'touch' turns I was talking about a non-tumble-but-touching-the-wall turn. I know people use different names for turns, so tried to include both. I didn't mean an open water type of turn... do you mean just swimming a 180 bend?

    Anyway, sorry for the confusion.... for garyroberts benefit, and for any other new swimmers, what I meant was:

    Assuming a right arm approach to the wall:

    1) Your right arm is extended, left arm is completing the push with your hand near your hip.

    2) You grab the wall with the right hand (or just press your palm against it if you are trying to avoid the twisting and wrenching motion that WILL give you a rotator-cuff problem in a couple of years [:'(] ).

    3) Your momentum (and possibly pulling with the right arm) brings your legs underneath you, legs pressed together, knees bent.

    4) Your left hand stays where it was, still pointing back up the pool. Your feet connect with the wall in a similar position to a tumble turn, though at more of an angle, with your toes pointing at the wall to your left.

    5) As you kick with your legs, you bring your right arm over (some people do a big windmill swing, I use a normal elbow-high stroke) and your chin goes down. Your hands connect into a streamline position, you go maybe 1m under the water with the push and give it 2 or 3 fly kicks to keep the speed up.

    6) Surface, two/three strokes then breathe.

    If you want/need to you can catch a breath somewhere in the region of step 3 or 4.

    If you get this right you'll beat the majority of tumblers. You also get the advantage of that sneaky breath.

    Having said all that, see my comments above about still wanting to get the T-turn right. On the occasions I feel I have done it perfectly you can feel the momentum advantage.... all your forward speed goes into lifting your legs, which in turn press you into the water and push you around the turn. I feel it is fastest in a quite open position, like a 'C' shape in the water which conserves your speed. Some people curl into a tight ball which seems to lose momentum.

    BTW, I'm not a swim coach. All comments are based on experience only. Your mileage (and opinion) may vary!
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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    dont do it!

    Just got back from the pool having attempted to practice my tumble turns, which are shocking, and I have gone deaf in one ear! argh!!!!!
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    Agee with much of the above. When I first started tumble turns my frequent mistake was to try to save time by turning earlier than i should, that left me stranded just short of the end. with practice i agree that you can gain on someone pushing off, though this can be more efficient with a dolphin kick before u start to swim.

    Also recommend open water swim they are great fun - try tatton park triathlon if you live near to North west or have relatives close by.


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