A comparison study between axial and radial swirler performance in a gas turbine can combustor was conducted by investigating the correlation between combustor flow field geometry and convective heat transfer at cold flow conditions for Reynolds numbers of 50,000 and 80,000. Flow velocities were measured using particle image velocimetry (PIV) along the center axial plane and radial cross sections of the flow. It was observed that both swirlers produced a strong rotating flow with a reverse flow core. The axial swirler induced larger recirculation zones at both the backside wall and the central area as the flow exits the swirler, and created a much more uniform rotational velocity distribution. The radial swirler however, produced greater rotational velocity as well as a thicker and higher velocity reverse flow core. Wall heat transfer and temperature measurements were also taken. Peak heat transfer regions directly correspond to the location of the flow as it exits each swirler and impinges on the combustor liner wall.