A few questions for all of you. I want to ask if you've ever thought about a way to quantify a reduced time in a flip turn vs. an open turn, taking into account where the turn started given a set point in the pool. How long did it really take you to get back to that set point in the pool, and how much energy did you use doing it?
Several other factors would come into play even if this was set up in a controlled environment: How fast the swimmer was going, did they start their turn at the exact same point on both runs, how many breaths were taken getting to the turn, how much inertia was carried from the push off of the wall getting back to the set point, etc., but for the sake of preventing cataclysmic frustration and unrealistic expectations for an experiment, we'll assume these as environmental constants if we were to recreate it.
The reason I'm asking these questions runs back to social acceptance in relation to techniques used in competitive sports, and the amount of peer pressure that can come with it. I highly doubt any high school swim coach set up a high speed camera to accurately benchmark when a swimmer passed a given point in the pool, and how long it took them to reach that same point upon turning, nor would they even have thought to, as it would've conflicted with their already solidified schema of how "real" swimming should look.
Here are some of the common "arguments" for open vs. flip turns that don't even bother taking a numerical standpoint on the issue:
- But you look ridonkulous doing open turns - I don't care, I'm not here to look cool, this isn't a popularity contest, and I'm not in high-school. I am here to be the fastest swimmer I can be.
- But you don't streamline properly - You can learn to streamline in an open turn or a flip turn.
- But it helps you control your breath - So don't breath when taking an open turn.
- You can't grab a wall in the open water and take an extra breath - Last I checked you don't flip in open water and push off a wall either.
Something I want to point out, "it adds yards" is a really silly standpoint to take if there is a possibility that open turning may be a faster way to get your feet to and off the wall. I will never take linear one-issue-covering counter arguments on variable heavy subjects seriously. "Longer distance swam" means nothing to me if someone can cover that distance in a shorter amount of time by doing something that is "against the grain". In the spirit of the internet, "pics or it didn't happen". If flip turns are quantifiably faster than open turns, then please show me.
I could probably talk about this for days, but I'll stop myself here and leave you with some space to ponder. Someone think me up a punch line for swim blogs!