How to Flipturn with a Snorkel!

Welcome back to Part II of our series of how to swim with a snorkel. This week, we are specifically diving deeper into how to Flipturn with a snorkel.

In case you missed Part I of this series on the basics of how to swim with a snorkel, click here.

If not, let’s get started…

Swimming with snorkel does NOT have to be so complicated. If you read Part I, you know the few tips and tricks on what to do with it at first, like…

1.) You must RELAX.

This is key. If you don’t relax and breathing regularly using the snorkel, you automatically are going to set yourself up to breathe in when you shouldn’t and gag on some water.

2.) You must ACTIVELY bite DOWN on the mouthpiece.

With swimming normally, your jaw isn’t active. So when you have a snorkel, you must consciously think about biting down on the mouthpiece to keep your mouth closed and the snorkel in place.

3.) Find GREAT body alignment.

The ideal body alignment shows about 4 inches of the snorkel outside the water. Anything more than that, the head is raised too much and anything less—the head is pressed too far down.

4.) You cannot forget to BLOW out when the snorkel goes underwater.

This tip is KEY because it directly has to do with a swimmer doing a Flipturn. If you don’t exhale FIRST after you leave the wall, since the snorkel has been under the water—you will automatically get water in your mouth if you try to inhale.

I saw on Instagram a couple weeks ago a swim team teaching the exhale portion of the snorkel with some rubber ducks and water bottles. Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure:

Now as a stroke technician, I’m not saying you need to go buy rubber ducks and have your kids learn how to “move” them by spitting water. You can simply do what I did with my kiddos the other week:

The goal with the exhale is to get the swimmer’s using their exhale to FORCEFULLY eject the water from the snorkel, similar to that of a blow hole of a whale.

The Steps to Completing a Flip Turn with a Snorkel:

1.) The Approach

As you approach the wall, you want to make sure all 4 things are done above. Along with before initiating any sort of flipping movement—you need to take a big inhale through the snorkel and BITE DOWN really hard on the mouthpiece. This is the last breath of air you’ll get until after the turn/exhale is completed.

2.) The Flip

So during the flip itself, you will continue to bite down on the snorkel and hold your breath. The key here is blow some bubbles out of your nose if you have a tendency to get water in your nose during flipturns.

It doesn’t need to be an aggressive amount of bubbles through your nose, but rather—just a little bit.

3.) The Push-Off

During the push-off, you are still continuing to exhale out the nose (if needed) and with the 4 tips above—along with, as soon as you start to surface after your underwater dolphin kicks and/or flutter kicks, you will preform a HUGE exhale as the snorkel breaks through the surface.

This exhale forces all the water that collected in your snorkel during the flipturn out, and allows you to follow that exhale with a big inhale.

If for some reason, your snorkel doesn’t entirely clear during the first big exhale. You can sense this if there’s water in the mouthpiece area still. You can perform however many additional exhales you need to get all the water OUT, before inhaling.

I Did EVERYTHING You Said, but I’m Still Gagging on Water:

Keep practicing. As I told my kids the other day at practice, no one has ever learned how to flipturn with a snorkel and NOT choked on some water. The key with this is to make sure even though you may be getting some water here and there—to not get discouraged by it.

If you are swimming and going to practice everyday, there is moments when you’re in a lane with 3-6+ other people in it that even when you breathe to the side, sometimes, a rush of water comes into your mouth. That is okay, and you will be okay.

You can also break down the flipturn into steps as well, and just work the “push-off” portion of the turn by doing 25’s with a snorkel. Then adding a flip at the beginning of each 25 into a “push-off” – to eventually – a full turn. If doing a turn from start to finish is too much to begin with.

Keep at it. I have faith in you.

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish

7 Responses

  1. Appreciate this! I am an older masters swimmer and back in my day the snorkel was not a thing…Knowledge is power! Thank you for this resource.

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