Annular regions of reversed axial flow have been observed in highly swirled confined vortices. The aim of the present paper is to examine transition to this regime with increase in swirl. A spiral disturbance, similar to vortex breakdown, caused transition from jet-like to wake-like axial velocity profiles. As the swirl was increased, a second transition to a W shaped axial velocity profile occurred. This gradually developed with further increase in swirl until an annulus of reversed axial flow was observed.