From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefallinia to Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind.
This is the story of a woman discovering a desire to swim after she moved to Brighton, realising that she was scared of water and then the challenge of learning to swim after many years of running.
I read this in less than a week and really loved it. It’s easy to read, funny and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about an ordinary person learning to swim. And while I’ve never been afraid of the water (like the author) and I was lucky enough to be taught to swim as a child there were so many things I could relate to. Like putting on a wetsuit for the first time, feeling vulnerable in a swimming costume until I got used to it or going to an event or race where everyone else had all the kit and all looked the part.
I loved reading about how her relationship with her body and her motivations to swim changed as she learned to swim and I could relate to her positive experiences of the connections and friendships made through being in a swimming group.
As a coach it was a great reminder to read about a novices experience of learning to swim and to get an insight into the ways its possible to interpret information about swimming which are often unhelpful. Of course I was thrilled that she wrote about Total Immersion swimming and she has some useful tips on kit and what to buy and what not to buy.
The only disappointing part is that she attempts to describe good swim technique which largely doesn’t hit the mark, which isn’t surprising since she’s not a professional swim coach. She misses a lot of key points about swim technique and describes other points inaccurately and I would rather have heard more about her swimming journey.