Review: Swimming to Antarctica

When I went to Rome I picked up a book to read for fun. After a semester that included HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of pages of neuroscience and social development, I wanted something that wasn’t related to psychology and wouldn’t make me think too hard.

My reading for the semester. It’s double sided. I had to read this while I was busy doing other things- like training for a 50 miler!

I’d heard good things about Lynne Cox’ book, Swimming to Antarctica, so I picked it up hoping it would serve its purpose of entertaining me.

You can pick it up at Amazon for less than $8 including shipping.

This book didn’t entertain me, it amazed and inspired me. I would recommend it to anyone, but particularly athletes. I would consider it required reading for swimmers. Lynne’s writing is not just clear, but it is beautifully rich and lush, she has just as much talent for writing as she does for swimming, which is no small compliment. In the book she discusses her numerous world records with humility; her physical accomplishments are inspiring to say the least, especially considering that she broke the world record for swimming across the English Channel in her teens- twice! Although Lynne has tremendous talent, and discusses the science backing her physiological differences from most of us which allows her to successfully do incredible things like swim a mile in Antarctica without a wetsuit, she also emphasizes her hard work and training. During feats that seem impossible she addresses the doubts that she had and how she was able to overcome them, something very valuable as so much of endurance sport is mental. Seeing that she has the same doubts climbing into the Bering Strait as I do toeing the line at an ultra makes her seem so human and accessible even though she is so incredible. The book is long (more to enjoy!) but the chapters are manageable and I never wanted to put it down- I suggest you pick it up.

Quantifiable rating: 10. I hate that I’m giving a 10 in only my second review, but there is nothing else that I could want out of this book.

Non-quantifiable rating: Who wants to swim the English Channel with me? Seriously.