The tortoise and the hare

This well-known fable is a great reminder to ocean swimmers of all ages, that there's more to swimming through the surf than speed.

There once was a rookie swimmer who bragged about how fast he could swim.

Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the local old salty dog, challenged him to a race out the back. All the beachgoers on the shore gathered to watch.

The rookie swam straight out into the surf, just as a large set was rolling in. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are still waiting on the beach?”

The rookie dived deep as wave after wave rolled in, thinking, “There is plenty of time to get through this set.”

Slow and Steady waited and waited, slowly walking into the mouth of the rip current nearby as the last wave of the set approached the shore.

Then, he dived in the water and rode the pulse out through the wave zone. He never, ever stopped until he popped out the back.

The beachgoers who were watching cheered so loudly for Slow and Steady, the rookie thought a celebrity had strolled down the beach.

The rookie spotted the lull, got back into his rhythm, and started to swim out through the surf, but it was too late. Slow and Steady was out the back already.

After that, the rookie always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”

Have kids who ocean swim or do surf lifesaving? Have them read this story and discuss the meaning behind it with them. Start with the question, “what knowledge did the Old Salty Dog have, that the rookie didn’t?”


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