Correcting the Flamingo Unroll

This post is dedicated to all transitions that have an unroll; kip, flamingo bent knee, barracuda or any other unroll you may come across during figures.

Here is a video of 13-15 swimmer performing the flamingo unroll.

I am not a proponent of calling this transition an unroll.  Unroll is not a clear enough description of the action. What unrolls? Where does the unroll start? Does everything unroll?  I would rather swimmers think of the transition like this:

Imagine a straight line behind your back going towards the bottom of the pool.  Your goal is to get the body to be inline with the imaginary line by the time you hit the bent knee position.  To do this your belly button moves towards the line while the rest of your body and head maintains the same position. The remaining body parts to hit the line can move through the water, but they cannot change position until it is their turn. Once the belly button hits the line, it stays there and the ribs now aim for the line while the rest of the body maintains its position. Repeat this until the transition is complete.

The swimmer in the video starts the transition with her head. You can see her tuck her chin in while her belly button stays stationary.  She has no choice but to move headfirst to complete “the unroll”.  She is stuck and to get rid of the unstuck feeling she moves her hips forward instead of starting with the belly button coming back to the line. Her imaginary line is her head. If you place your hand at her head you’ll see that everything comes to meet the head.

As the figure description states “the hips are lifted as the trunk unrolls’. Lifting the hips gradually throughout the transition also helps the body get into proper position. The swimmers should be thinking energy up through the top leg. That should help them think more about that imaginary line, which is actually really their final bent knee line.

Another thing to watch for is the hands coming ahead of the hips towards the head on the transition.  Swimmers who move the hands in this way tend to also “unroll” to the head. This swimmer actually has good hand placement.

Here are two drills to help you coaches and swimmers out:

1.  “Unroll” on the wall.  I am sure you all know this one, but now you need to watch that the transition starts from the belly button not the head.  Have the swimmer put the entire back of the straight leg on the wall in flamingo position. They can hold on to the wall too. Ensure the bent knee is in the middle of the top leg and not knee to knee.

2.  Bathing suit pull.  In partners, have someone do the transition and have the other person pull the swimmer back to the line from the lower back and then middle back.  They can pull nicely on the suit or you could tie tubing around the waist.  Swimmers scull in this one.

This concept works for kip and thrust too.

I hope you found this useful.  Feel free to comment below, share the post with others or comment on my Facebook page.

Vanessa Keenan, The Online Synchro Coach

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