Pride can be a terrible thing and can get in the way of progress. I thought I could learn a flip turn on my own, when that didn’t work I put my pride aside and asked a lifeguard to help me. We met at the pool this morning and he asked me to first try to flip from a standing position in the middle of the pool. I did my usual jump, turn, struggle and stand. Then he asked me if I can do a somersault on land, I told him I have been doing them since I was 4 years old. He then had a simple yet brilliant idea. He showed me how to mimic a somersault in the pool by using the lane line rope as my “ground”. I held on to the rope, jumped and flipped right over. Feeling like a 4 year old again, I looked at him and said “I wanna do it again!” So I flipped a few times over the rope. Then he said what I hate hearing – “time to lose the crutch.” That was what my friend told me when I had to stop swimming with fins.
Crutches are helpful, if not necessary, when we are weak and need them to develop our strength. But once the strength takes root, we have to lose the crutch or we will stay in a weakened condition. So just like giving up my fins, I stepped away from the rope. Standing in the middle of the pool like I had only moments before, I jumped and flipped right over. Yep, me – I did it. And I did it again and again. So much that I lost count so I have taken down the flip attempt counter to the right of this page. I also am able to swim into a flip. Just not right up to the wall. But that day is coming soon. Every morning this coming week when I swim I will make sure to flip in the water and even try to get closer to the wall during warm up and cool down swims. Next Saturday we are working on flipping and pushing off the wall. It actually is a bit more strenuous at first than I thought. Using my arms to propel me causes me to roll more to my left side. When I hold a floating noodle behind me and flip, I am forced to use my abdominals and not my arms and I flip straight every time. So that will be a big focus for me this week.
I told my friend who has insisted I get the flip down that today was a big step for me. Deep down I feared that I was never going to be able to get the flip turn down. The reply coming through the telephone was loud and direct: “What have I told you? You have got to stop thinking like that.” Yes, I really have to believe I can do it. I have to have the confidence that I can succeed at flip turns, improve my times, and reach (if not even surpass) my goals.