Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox
I completely expected this to be one of those books where I wonder throughout: How can this person choose this crazy pursuit? Fortunately, Lynne Cox is nearly as good at weaving a tale as she is at swimming at high speed in ice-cold-freezing water – so she tells us how she developed her overwhelming love of swimming in open water, even (especially?) under tough conditions. Her description of being 11 years old and choosing to swim for 3 hours in the midst of a hail storm rather than do 2 hours of calisthenics is just plain beautiful. And the part where she’s crossing a New Zealand strait accompanied by dolphins… I confess I felt a twinge of envy that made me realize all that training could result in some mighty lovely moments. You still won’t find me swimming in water where there be sharks, but Lynne Cox’s writing helps me understand why she would.