How to Do the Kipnus & Kip Bent Knee in Synchronized Swimming

The kip figure is the base for several similar figures. Two such figures are the kipnus and the kip bent knee. If holding up a double leg vertical is beyond your skill level, the kipnus is perfect for you. In it, you only have to lift one leg.

In the kip bent knee, you will learn how to do a heron join to vertical. This will teach you how to maintain your upside-down height and improve your balance.

This guide will take you through the kipnus, and then explain the alternate ending for the kip bent knee. At the end of this guide, there is a partner drill for practicing the kip.


Back Layout to Tub Position

  1. Begin in a back layout while using standard scull. Your ribs should be in line with the marker or center judge.
  2. Bend your knees in toward your chest. Keep your shins at the surface the whole time — don’t let your feet sink! Make sure your ribs stay in line with the marker. You should only be moving your legs.
  3. Finish in a tub position with your knees as close to your chin as possible.

Tub to Kip Position

  1. Begin to roll over into the kip position. As your face goes under, tuck your head in so that your goggles point right at your kneecaps.
  2. To keep your palms down while you scull, bend your wrists as if you were doing reverse standard scull.
  3. Do a catch into support scull in front of your shins. That will keep you from rolling all the way over.
  4. Finish with your shins in line with the marker.
Hot Tip: Don't Hold the Tub

The back layout through the kip position should be done without any pauses, even though it is divided into two steps. Take your last breath of air just before your knees get close to your chin. Then, start the roll over without pausing in the tub position.


Kip Position to Heron

  1. Lift one foot straight up so that your shin starts to come out of the water. You can keep support sculling, or if you prefer, you can use paddle scull for the beginning of the lift.
  2. As you lift, keep your other leg’s foot attached to the lifting leg.
  3. Keep your eyes looking toward the surface until your knee comes out of the water. Then, lift your chin and spot the wall in front of you. At this point, your lifting leg should pass through a 90 degree angle, bent at the knee. Your thigh should be horizontal on the surface, and your shin vertical.
  4. Continue lifting your shin toward a heron position as you bring your hips forward underneath it.
  5. Finish in a vertical position, and hold in support scull at your maximum height.


  1. To start descending, gradually decrease the amount of pressure you are creating with your support scull. You don’t need to try to sink off the top. You just need to slowly stop preventing yourself from sinking.
  2. When you get to the water level that is closer to your floating point, turn your hands over and begin to pull yourself down.

Kip Bent Knee

The kip bent knee is the same as the kipnus up until the heron position. So, from that point on, just add the heron join.

  1. After holding the heron position, start to slide the foot of your leg with the bent knee along the inside of your straight leg.
  2. Slide your joining leg’s toes along the front of your straight leg as they pass your calf muscle.
  3. Join in a vertical position with your feet matched up.
  4. Hold in support scull at this point, and then descend.

All Kinds of Kips

The kipnus and kip bent knee are good options when you want to try something with a different difficulty than the regular kip. And with just a couple minor alterations, you’ve learned two new figures!

As always, remember the overall goals of figures: Height, control, smoothness, and showing accurate positions. Apply these goals to the kip and kipnus as you practice them and you’ll be on your way to the top!

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