Here are my 10 swimming book recommendations for Xmas! I’ve read the first 3 and thoroughly enjoyed them. The rest are either already bought or downloaded or are on my book list so do let me know what you think.

  1. Leap in, A Woman, some waves and the will to swim, Alexandra Heminsley

From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefallinia o Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind.



2. Swimming to Antarctica, Lynne Cox

Here is the joyful, inspirational memoir of swimmer Lynne Cox. By age sixteen, she had broken all records for English. Channel swims, so she set her goals even higher: She became the first to swim the Strait of Magellan, narrowly escaped a shark attack off the Cape of Good Hope, and was cheered across the twenty-mile Cook Strait of New Zealand by dolphins. Her daring eventually led her to the thirty-eight-degree waters of the Bering Strait, which she crossed in her usual outfit — just a swimsuit, cap, and goggles


3. Blue Mind, Wallace Nichols

Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In Blue Mind Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on or simply near water. Grounded in cutting edge studies in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, economics and medicine, made real by stories of innovative scientists, doctors, athletes, artists, environmentalists, business people and lovers of nature.


4. Why We Swim, Bonnie Tsui

Discover what it is about water that seduces us, heals us and brings us together.  Propelled by stories of polar swim champions, a Baghdad swim club, Olympic athletes, modern day samurai swimmer and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survived a six hour swim in the wintry Atlantic. Why we swim takes us around the glove in a remarkable, all-encompassing account of the world of swimming.


4. The mindful art of Wild Swimming, Tessa Wardley

Explore how swimming in rivers, lakes, and seas is the very epitome of conscious living. Tessa Wardley reconnects the physical and spiritual cycles of life to the changing seasons and flow of wild waters worldwide and leads the reader on to a mindful journey through the natural world. With expert insight and personal anecdote, she shares a sparkling clarity on why our relationship with open water is so fundamental to pure wellbeing, and reveals how wild swimming can be the ultimate Zen meditation.


6. Contested Waters: A social history of swimming pools in America, Jeff Wiltse

From nineteenth century public baths to today’s private backyard havens, swimming pools have long been a provocative symbol of American life. In this social and cultural history of swimming pools in the United States, Jeff Wilste relates how, over the years, pools have served as asylums for the urban poor, leisure resorts for the masses and private clubs for the middle class. As sites of race riots, shrinking swimsuits and conspicuous leisure, swimming pools reflect many of the tensions and transformations that have given rise to modern America.


7. Swim, why we love the water, Lynn Sherr

Swim is a celebration of swimming and the effect it has on our lives. It’s an inquiry into why we swim – the lure, the hold, the timeless magic of being in the water.



8. The Story of Swimming, Susie Parr

Passionate outdoor swimmer, Susie Parr sets out to trace the social history of bathing in Britain from the earliest references in the Roman literature to the decline of British seaside resorts and traditional bathing clubs in the late 20th century. Each phase off this extraordinary story is captured in different swimming experiences across the British Isles from Orkney to Tenby. Comprehensive and lavishly illustrate this is a lovely book.


9. Gold in the Water: The True Story of Ordinary Men and Their Extraordinary Dream of Olympic Glory, P. H. Mullen Jr

In California, a team of talented young men begin pursuing the most elusive dream in sports, the Olympic Games. The pressure steadily increases as two best friends reach the top of the world rankings and unexpectedly find themselves direct competitors. Their teammates include an emerging star methodically plotting to retrace his father’s path to Olympic glory, as well as a super-extraordinary athlete desperate to walk away from it all. Led by one of the most passionate coaches in sports, a brilliant and explosive strategist on a personal quest for redemption, this team of dark horses and Olympic favourites works through escalating rivalries, joyous triumphs, and heart breaking setbacks.


10. A boy in the water: A memoir, Tom Gregory

Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father.

I hope you enjoy some of these but do let me know what you’ve read, what you enjoyed and any recommendations for the future.