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How to Do the Front Pike Somersault in Synchronized Swimming

The front pike somersault is the synchronized swimmer’s fancy way of doing a front flip in the pool. It’s likely you will graduate to a level of competition that doesn’t require this figure anymore. However, the first two steps of it are used in other, more advanced figures. In this guide, we’ll go through a step-by-step explanation of the front pike somersault:e

Front Layout to Front Pike

Start in a front layout using canoe scull. Your head should be lined up with the marker or center judge. Take a breath and put your face in, then start barrel sculling and piking down. Hold your pike position here in barrel scull. By the end of this step, you should have traveled headfirst enough that your hips are now in line with the marker.

First Rotation

Start this step by barrel sculling yourself headfirst down toward the bottom. Then, to tip your pike over, switch to paddle scull.

When you arrive at the end of this transition, switch to a split scull with one hand overhead with your palm facing the surface, and one hand by your hips doing standard scull. Your legs should be vertical with just your ankles and feet out of the water. The front of your body should be facing the surface. Your hips should still in line with the marker.


Second Rotation

You’re halfway through! Since heads tend to float, this transition is about controlling your speed and buoyancy. Start tipping your feet back underwater as you bring your head up toward the surface.

When trying to maintain a good pike shape, it sometimes helps to think of what your body position would look like from a judge’s, coach’s, or teammate’s perspective. Imagine your body making a perfect “L” shape.

Gradually transfer from split scull to support scull to keep your head from popping out of the water. Your head will be right at the surface with just the top of your cap out of the water — like a little island. Also, you should have your feet in line with marker.

Third Rotation

Turn your hands over so that your palms face downward and slightly toward your body. This will help you glide — leading with your head — up to and along the surface into the last pike-shaped position.

As you go, steadily bring your hands back into canoe scull. When you finish this step, your back should be flat on the surface, your feet directly under your hips, and your head in line with the marker.

Finishing to Front Layout

This figure ends up in the same position it started, except you will have your hips in line with the marker this time. Use your canoe scull to travel headfirst by tilting your fingertips down. Lift your heels as you go until you’re back in a front layout position with your hips in line with the marker.

From Somersaults to Greatness

This figure might not be the most exciting one, but it is an ideal stepping stone to learning many other skills. You will get to practice five different sculling techniques, how to transition between them, lining up with the marker, and how to maintain your body position — all in one figure! All this makes becoming a master of the front pike somersault quite an accomplishment.

The front pike somersault is a great figure for increasing your body awareness and practicing a handful of sculling techniques in synchronized swimming.
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