This turn is unique. I call it the “inside turn” because you are generally facing the inside of the pool, vice the wall, during the turn. As far as I can tell, this turn first showed up in Natalia Molchanova's 217 meter dynamic at the 2010 World Championships in Okinawa. She was using what was essentially a DOL-Fin ORCA-1 during that swim. Though her more recent turns resemble the inside turn in some ways, the turns you see here are definitely not push-off turns. The video of her dynamic does not showcase the turns very well, but you can see basically what she is doing. Look at the crazy distance she got on her first strokes off the wall - nothing wrong with that at all. In my video, I give you a closer look. Later, in the training video, I provide a more detailed study of this turn.
This is a very relaxing turn. It can be a bit wide though, so you have to be careful to do it in a way that does not entangle you with ladders and lane ropes. In my training with this turn, I have never had a problem with lane ropes, but ladders can get in the way a bit, so it is best to plan for them. To provide maximum flexibility in that regard, it is a good idea with this turn, and with the others as well, to learn them in both directions. I suspect though, that if this turn can be done with a normal monofin, that there would be less of a risk of the fin hooking onto something, just because of the monofin's shape.
This turn is probably the simplest of all of them to actutally do. There is very little longitudinal rotation on this one. If you rotate too much, it will make it harder and perhaps even uncomfortable to push off the wall with your hand. In any case, it is not really necessary. As you are approaching the wall, make sort of an L-shape with the fin and legs while moving the free hand to your side (not an armstroke unless you need it). At the same time, bend slightly but not uncomfortablly at the waist, while twisting your upper body slightly in the direction you are turning, also not uncomfortably. These motions will start the turn. With your push-off hand, push off the wall in a way that continues the turning arc while also pushing you away from the wall. Your momentum will then carry you away from the wall as you use your non-push-off arm to execute a stroke to complete putting you into proper alignment with the pool. As the fin comes completely around, it will flow nicely into a proper upstroke. At that point you can execute whatever stroke you are inclined to do. Arm recovery can be done then or perhaps concurrent with the second kick-kick-glide as you see in the training video. In terms of metrics, I have found that I end up a greater distance down the pool after the second kick-kick-glide when I recover my arms later rather than earlier. Fin motion in this turn, as you can see, is not complicated at all. Once you shape the fin and legs correctly, the fin will easily follow your feet around the turn, almost like a very extended upstroke.
There are a few advantages to this turn -
First, because you naturally flow into a normal upstroke at the end of the turn, it is easier to keep the fin submerged, especially as compared with a Katarina turn or outside turn, and particularly in shallow water. This natural upstroke also reduces the power required on the following downstroke, contributing to the efficiency of the turn.
Second, this turn uses little vertical space, so it excels in shallow pools, and can even be done on the surface. About the worst that can happen is that you might be dragging the side of the fin on the bottom a bit around the turn.
Third, this is a very low-energy turn compared with most of the others. There is really nothing much going on during the turn except for the hand push-off and the free hand stroke. Also, because of the speed you have coming off the wall, the natural upstroke mentioned before, and the fairly streamlined position and attitude you end up in, little more than a normal stroke is required after the turn to get you going.
Fourth, while there is possible minimal contact between the side of the fin and the bottom or even the wall of the pool during this turn, there little probability of damage to the fin. This because the sides of most monofins are better reinforced than the trailing edges, and the fin is dragged almost gently around the turn. Little force is applied to the fin until after the turn is complete and it is well away from the wall. As you can see in my videos, the fin is probably about a meter off the wall when I do the first stroke.
Finally, as I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, look at the crazy distance Natalia was getting on her first strokes off the wall. It is difficult to compare this turn with others, because unlike the push-off and outside turns, the inside turn has no hard push or stroke off the wall. Still, in Natalia's video, she did about 8 kick-kick-glides per lap during her dynamic - pretty amazing, if you ask me.
So far, I have only seen this turn done with the DOL-Fin class of fin, manufactured by Smith Aerospace. It remains to be seen whether it can be done with a normal monofin, but I see nothing in the motion that precludes it.
First published January 7, 2017
Latest edit January 20, 2017