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How to Do the Porpoise Full Twist in Synchronized Swimming

The porpoise full twist is designated for Age Group competitors between the ages of 16 and 18, Juniors, and Seniors. It's short compared to many figures, but can be challenging because it requires a full twist with both legs up at maximum height.

This guide will walk you through the porpoise full twist. Remember to take special note of the details — such as which sculling techniques to use, and common errors to avoid.

Front Layout to Front Pike

  1. Start in a front layout using canoe scull. Your head should be lined up with the marker or center judge.
  2. Take a breath and put your face in, then start barrel sculling and piking down. Hold your pike position in barrel scull until the next transition.
  3. By the end of this step, you should have traveled headfirst enough so that your hips are in line with the marker. They will stay there through the end of the figure.

Porpoise Lift

  1. Transition to paddle scull. Switch one arm at a time; one right after the other.
  2. After two or three seconds, begin lifting your legs toward vertical. Keep paddling until your legs are one-third of the way to vertical. Then switch to support scull.
  3. Finish in a vertical position. Hold at your maximum height.
Hot Tip: Resist Over-Piking

The most common problem — and one of the most difficult to fix — is over-piking. Practice your porpoise lift with your back against the wall, and holding the side of the pool. Get a feel of how you have to open your hips, and which leg muscles you need to use. When you try again away from the wall, imitate these sensations.

Full Twist

  1. Start your twist by turning left shoulder back (with a gentle start). Initiate so subtly that you think it might be almost imperceptible!
  2. Turn on your in-sculls. This is one of the keys to turning smoothly and staying in place.
  3. Maintain the same water line throughout the twist.
  4. As you go by the first quarter point, check your alignment. Make sure that your head, both your shoulders, your hips, and your knees are all square to the wall.
  5. Continue the twist. Make the same check at each wall until you complete the full 360 degrees.
  6. Slowly arrive so that you face the same wall you started facing. Hold your last vertical at the maximum height you can.


  1. To start descending, gradually decrease the amount of pressure you are creating with your support scull.
  2. Sinking is easy. Control it is the hard part! Don't be tempted to rush to come up and breathe. Know that in comparison to many, this figure is short.
    Hot Tip: Last Impression

    Take extra care and time when descending from ankles under. After a slow, evenly-timed figure, an abrupt ending will leave the judges with a lesser last impression.

  3. When you get to the water level that is close to your floating point, start to gradually scull your hands overhead.
  4. Turn you palms over and scull yourself down, or use barrel scull.

Demonstrate Your Skill

The porpoise full twist is not complicated, but it is a clear test of some important synchro skills. Vertical height and alignment are two of the most important technical skills a synchro swimmer can have, and this figure will help you train these skills. When competition time comes, show them off!

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