Swimming to Antarctica: tales of a long-distance swimmer

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A.A. Knopf, Jan 13, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 323 pages
55 Reviews
At age fourteen, she swam twenty-six miles from Catalina Island to the California mainland. At ages fifteen and sixteen, she broke the men's and women's world records for swimming the English Channela thirty-three-mile crossing in nine hours, thirty-six minutes. At eighteen, she swam the twenty-mile Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand, was caught on a massive swell, found herself after five hours farther from the finish than when she started, and still completed the swim. She was the first to swim the Strait of Magellan, the most treacherous three-mile stretch of water in the world. The first to swim the Bering Straitthe channel that forms the boundary line between the United States and Russiafrom Alaska to Siberia, thereby opening the U.S.-Soviet border for the first time in forty-eight years, swimming in thirty-eight-degree water in four-foot waves without a shark cage, wet suit, or lanolin grease. The first to swim the Cape of Good Hope (a shark emerged from the kelp, its jaws wide open, and was shot as it headed straight for her). 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 laternot yet out of high schoolshe 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 Uniona 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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Cox is only a so-so writer. - Goodreads
However, the writing does bring it down a notch. - Goodreads
The only barrier for me was the actual writing. - Goodreads

Review: Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

User Review  - Maggie - Goodreads

This was a terrifying, inspiring and amazing story. Given Ms. Cox's relative anonymity, I was ashamed to learn of the breadth and depth of this woman's accomplishments. What a courageous role-model ... Read full review

Review: Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

User Review  - Sudheer Kumar - Goodreads

This book is a delightful read,provides an excellent insight into the life of an open water swimmer. written by Lynne Cox,an accomplished swimmer who created a lot of swimming records and firsts,the ... Read full review

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Contents

Prologue A Cold Day in August
3
Beginnings
9
Leaving Home
15
Copyright

22 other sections not shown

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About the author (2004)

Lynne Cox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Los Alamitos, California. She received her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Cox was named Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year in 1975, inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000, and honored with a lifetime achievement award from U.C. Santa Barbara. Her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and European Car Magazine. Cox lives in Los Alamitos, California.

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