The turbulent and swirling flow of a uniflow-scavenged two-stroke engine cylinder is investigated using a scale model with a static geometry and a transparent cylinder. The swirl is generated by 30 equally spaced ports with angles of 0°, 10°, 20°, and 30°. A detailed characterization of the flow field is performed using stereoscopic particle image velocimetry. Mean fields are calculated using both a fixed coordinate system and a coordinate system based on the instantaneous flow topology. Time-resolved measurements of axial velocity are performed with laser Doppler anemometry, and power spectra are calculated in order to determine vortex core precession frequencies. The results show a very different flow dynamics for cases with weak and strong swirl. In the strongly swirling cases, a vortex breakdown is observed. Downstream of the breakdown, the vortex becomes highly concentrated and the vortex core precesses around the exhaust valve, resulting in an axial suction effect at the vortex center. Mean fields based on the instantaneous flow topology are shown to be more representative than mean fields based on a fixed coordinate system in cases with significant variations in the swirl center location.