Flip Turn Fail

Okay, if you’re a longtime reader, you know I’ve attempted to learn flip turns in the past. Those previous attempts didn’t go well. I have a tendency to stick my neck out at the worst time and back out of the somersault. I even had a lane mate attempt to physically flip me to no avail. We mutually, jokingly agreed I might need therapy to pull this off. That was back in 2008. Since then I’ve found a million excuses to not try this again – knee surgery, rehab, the Aquabike training, Oceanside training, bilateral breathing training, open water training, fatigue, crowded lanes, and busy coaches. Can you hear the “buck, buck, buuuuucccckkkk” chicken noises as you read this – uh-huh, I can!

I hinted to Coach Mary a gazillion times, “You have to teach me to flip turn.” Last Saturday, she surprised me by saying, “Come on, go do one.” Absolutely oblivious to what a little head case I truly am about it. “Do a somersault.” Fail. Fail. Fail. “Am I going to have to take you over to the grass to do them on dry land?” she asked. I laughed, “Yes!” “Okay, come on,” she answered.

So there we were – two big kids doing somersaults on my beach towel. It reminded me of the hours I spent in dojos studying various forms of martial arts. Sorry Mary, it’s just not the same with nothing solid to hold onto in the water.

Back in the pool, I did slightly better but never got my legs over. My nostrils seared with the sting of chlorine. I acted like I was being waterboarded. It was not my finest coachable moment. I’m usually pretty coachable. Mary looked at me with another grin and said, “Am I going to have to get Gus over here to flip you?” “Yes!” I responded. And then when she turned her head, I snuck out of the pool like an evasive little kid.

Ever had something you really wanted to do and NOT do at the same time? It’s a quandary. I do want to get the over this already. I certainly have the ability to laugh at myself in this situation. There’s also a varying degree of self-admonishment that’s not good. On any given day, this inward impetus to change and finally do a flip turn is somewhere on the scale of organizing-my-sock-drawer (not that urgent) to gotta-get-my-taxes-done (really urgent). The thing is I know I’ll feel a lot better about myself as an athlete if I can just start doing those flip turns. I know it’ll help my fitness and training. And I know I’ll walk a little taller in my flip flops if I do.