Swimming to Antarctica: Book summary and reviews of Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox

Swimming to Antarctica

Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

By Lynne Cox

Swimming to Antarctica
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2004,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

In this extraordinary book, the world’s most extraordinary distance swimmer writes about her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the almost mystical act of swimming itself.

Lynne Cox trained hard from age nine, working with an Olympic coach, swimming five to twelve miles each day in the Pacific. At age eleven, she swam even when hail made the water “like cold tapioca pudding” and was told she would one day swim the English Channel. Four years later—not yet out of high school—she broke the men’s and women’s world records for the Channel swim. In 1987, she swam the Bering Strait from America to the Soviet Union—a feat that, according to Gorbachev, helped diminish tensions between Russia and the United States.

Lynne Cox’s relationship with the water is almost mystical: she describes swimming as flying, and remembers swimming at night through flocks of flying fish the size of mockingbirds, remembers being escorted by a pod of dolphins that came to her off New Zealand.

She has a photographic memory of her swims. She tells us how she conceived of, planned, and trained for each, and re-creates for us the experience of swimming (almost) unswimmable bodies of water, including her most recent astonishing one-mile swim to Antarctica in thirty-two-degree water without a wet suit. She tells us how, through training and by taking advantage of her naturally plump physique, she is able to create more heat in the water than she loses.

Lynne Cox has swum the Mediterranean, the three-mile Strait of Messina, under the ancient bridges of Kunning Lake, below the old summer palace of the emperor of China in Beijing. Breaking records no longer interests her. She writes about the ways in which these swims instead became vehicles for personal goals, how she sees herself as the lone swimmer among the waves, pitting her courage against the odds, drawn to dangerous places and treacherous waters that, since ancient times, have challenged sailors in ships.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Cox ends her story with her swim to Antarctica, where she finishes the first Antarctic mile in 32-degree water in 25 minutes. Even though readers know she survived to tell the tale, it's a thrilling, awesome and well-written story." - Publishers Weekly.

"Her wide-eyed idealism may seem a little corny at first, but by the end we're rooting for her, wondering if brave and mostly solitary acts (huge support crews are necessary) don't bring us together after all." - Booklist.

"The writing is workmanlike at best, but Cox's sincerity and her love for the sport shine through, making this a good addition to all sports collections." - Library Journal.

"An otherworldly existence brought hugely to life." - Kirkus Reviews.

"[Cox has] done things the rest of us only imagine--and she's written a book that helps us to imagine them with clarity and wonder." - The Boston Globe.

"More than the story of the greatest open-water swimmer, Swimming to Antarctica is a portrait of rare and relentless drive. . . .Gripping." - Sports Illustrated.

"A tale of remarkable physical prowess and heart." - Vogue.

"Fetching and pitch-perfect . . . Full of perilous, preposterous-if-they-weren't-true scenes." - Outside Magazine.

"An instant classic of adventure writing." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

"The only things more impressive than her heroics are her magnanimous spirit and ability to bring people together." - Miami Herald.

"A triumph of a positive outlook, hefty preparation, and raw courage." - The Economist.

The information about Swimming to Antarctica shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Lynne Cox Author Biography

Lynne Cox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Los Alamitos, California, where she still lives. She is the author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson. Her articles have appeard in The New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, among other publications.

At age 9, she began her swimming career in Manchester, NH with the Manchester Swim Team. Her coach was Ben Muritt, the Harvard University coach. At age 12, Lynne moved with her family to Los Alamitos California where she began training with Don Gambril, coach of four US Olympic Swim teams.

In 1971 at age 14 Lynne swam across the Catalina Channel with a group of teenagers from Seal Beach, California . They swam a distance of 27 miles in 12 hours and 36 minutes.

In 1972 ...

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