On Tuesday I went out for a quick open water swim in my local bay. The tide was so low, it ended up being more like an open-water wade. Normally I swim over the weeds and icky mud that collects just off shore, but this time I had to walk through it, above the ankle, and even when it got deep enough to swim I was still going face first through grass. I was starting to freak out, and the mental slap wasn’t working.
So I turtled.
What’s a turtle, you ask? A turtle is when you flip onto your back, tuck up your chin, and flip your little feet flippers for propulsion. A turtle is your back up plan.
You can turtle any time you’re swimming, in the pool or open water, any time you need a break. Starting to panic? Turtle. Out of breath? Turtle. Goggles slipping off? Turtle. Hot lifeguard passing by? TURTLE!
It may feel a little silly, but when you’re first beginning to work on your swim, get into the habit of turtling any time you need to. Eventually you’ll be strong enough to fight through your panic or loss of breath or lifeguard distraction to keep swimming.
Until you have to swim through a bunch of weeds. Then you turtle.