How to Do a Split Spin in Synchronized Swimming

The split spin is always a crowd pleaser. However, most swimmers would admit that it’s even more fun to do than to watch because of its super-spiraling effect. In few words, a split spin begins with your legs in a wide V-shape that narrows as you spin and descend at the same time.

This move is most often used for solos or duets because of how tricky it can be to synchronize and match. But if you’re up for it, try a split spin in your trio or team!

This guide will explain how to do a split spin with options for variations, and also a few helpful hints for common problems.

Choose Your Starting Position

There are a few options for your spin-prep position. These are just suggestions, so feel free to make up your own once you figure out the basics. All of these options for starting will eventually get you into a wide V-shape position with your right leg in front of you and your left behind you (like a split position, but with your legs lifted up off the surface). The instructions for continuing the spin are the same from that point on.

Right Splits

  1. Start upside down in a right leg split position using support scull.
  2. Begin turning by sculling as if you are doing a *twist*.
  3. You will find that it feels natural to start lifting and closing your legs to reduce your drag in the water. Go with it. This will get you to the wide V-position.

Helicopter Position

  1. Start in a helicopter position, with your left leg straight.
  2. Lift both legs, extending your right leg forward, so that you arrive in the wide V-shape ready to spin.

Hurdle Position

  1. Start in the hurdle position with your left leg forward and right leg bent behind you.
  2. Swing both legs around in the direction you’re going to be spinning. This is a good option for building some swirling momentum.
  3. Pass through a wide middle split position on your way to the V.

Now Spin!

No matter which beginning position you chose (or maybe you made up your own!), you are ready to continue on around and down.

Hot Tip: Height vs. Speed

If you want to maintain your height longer, use support scull for more rotations at the beginning. If you want to spin faster, press and transfer to overhead spin scull.

Using support scull and then spin scull, rotate and descend as you simultaneously close your legs. Because this is not likely a required element for you (unless you are using it for a technical solo at the senior level), you can have a lot of leeway on the specifics: Spin fast or slow, fast then slow, finish narrow or wide, sustain your height or press up high and sink fast… vary it as you choose!

Advice to Keep You from Tipping

This kind of spin has more potential for speed than a straight vertical spin. This makes it impressive, but also makes it more likely that you’ll have trouble staying balanced. Use these tips to recognize and correct common problems.

  1. Use both legs to help you turn. A common tendency is to use only your right.
  2. Keep your legs and body turning together. Don’t allow your legs to turn faster, which is a common problem.
  3. Close your legs gradually. If you have finished all of your closing before you’re done, you’ll run out of momentum.

Put Your Own Spin on It

The split spin is a fun, unique way to spin. As you get better at the basic versions, you’ll find that you quickly invent new variations of the classic.

Use your own unsynchronizable version of the split spin as a dramatic highlight in your solo, or brave the task of synchronizing and matching one in your other routines. However you use this skill, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

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