A Tapestry of Swimming Books

A Tapestry of Swimming Books

I have been fascinated by swimming since I first started out in the water at age six. When I was 20 years old I discovered a book called ‘Haunts of the Black Masseur’ by Charles Sprawson and I have been in love with literature about swimming ever since.

There are many books to be read. Ralph Thomas’ book ‘Swimming’ from 1904 is a great example. He spent 10 years travelling to libraries all over Europe to find and write about every book ever written on the topic of swimming in English, German, French and Latin. An impressive feat in itself, but the book turned out to encompass almost 500 pages of tight writing about every aspect of swimming. I can only recommend that you seek it out. It is a cornerstone if there ever was one.

Below you will find my current list of books. Some I have read, some I have not. My goal is to slowly document them on this site and thus make it easier for you to pick the books that seems interesting to you.

Adam walkerMan vs OceanMemoir2016
Akiko BuschNine Ways to Cross a RiverEssay2008
Al AlvarezPond Life - A Swimmers JournalMemoir2013
Alec RichardsonAsk Me Why I'm Stood HereMemoir2018
Alexandra HeminsleyLeap InMemoir2017
Alok JhaThe Water BookNature2015
Amanda BeardIn the Water They Can't See You CryAutobiography2012
Amy LiptrotThe OutrunMemoir2016
Andrew Fusek PetersDip - Wild Swims from the BorderlandsMemoir2014
Anna Deacon & Vicky AllanTaking The PlungeNature & Philosophy2019
Anthony ErvinChasing Water - Elegy of an OlympianAutobiography2016
Barbara J ZitwerThe J.M. Barrie Ladies Swimming SocietyFiction2012
Ben Oshel BridgersSwimming The HellespontMemoir2002
Bill BroadySwimmerFiction2000
Bonnie TsuiWhy We SwimPhilosophy2020
Brendan Mac EvillyAt Swim - A Book About the SeaEssay2016
Caitlin DaviesDaisy BelleFiction2018
Caitlin DaviesDown StreamHistory2015
Casey LeglerGodspeedMemoir2018
Catherine KellyBlue Spaces - How and Why Water Can Make You Feel BetterScience2021
Chad Le ClosUnbelievable!Autobiography2014
Chantal ThomasMemories of Low TideMemoir2019
Charles JoscelyneCrossings - A Swimmer's MemoirMemoir2014
Charles SprawsonHaunts Of The Black MasseurHistory1992
Charlie ConnellyThe ChannelHistory2020
Charlotte RuncieSalt on Your TongueMemoir2019
Chris AyrissHung Out to Dry - Swimming & British CultureHistory2009
Christopher LoveA Social History of Swimming in England, 1800-1918History2008
Christos TsiolkasBarracudaFiction2013
Claire FullerSwimming LessonsFiction2017
Claire KellsGirl Under WaterFiction2015
Conrad WennerbergWind, Waves & SunburnHistory1974
Dainon MoodyRowdy Rising - From Rejected To UnrivaledBiography2016
Daphne GlazerBy the Tide of HumberFiction2007
Dara TorresAge Is Just a NumberAutobiography2009
Darrel Bristow-BoveyOne Midlife Crisis and a SpeedoMemoir2014
Dave Day & Margaret RobertsSwimming Communities in Victorian EnglandHistory2019
David DavisWaterman - The Life and Times of Duke KahanamokuBiography2015
David FuryJohnny Weissmuller - Twice the HeroBiography2000
Dawn FraserDawn: One Hell of a LifeAutobiography2001
Deborah CracknellBy The SeaScience & Philosophy2019
Des RenfordNothing Great Is EasyMemoir1992
Diana Addison LyleSwimming Through LifeBiography2016
Diana NyadFind a WayAutobiography2015
Doloranda PemberIn The Wake of Mercedes GleitzeBiography2019
E. de Lacy & S. FosterBorn to SwimMemoir2014
Elizabeth-Jane BurnettSwimsPoetry2017
Eric ChalineStrokes of Genius - A History of SwimmingHistory2017
Esther WilliamsThe Million Dollar MermaidAutobiography1999
Francois OppenheimThe History of SwimmingHistory1970
Gavin MortimerThe Great SwimBiography2008
Gemma SpofforthDealing With It - Six Years of Mourning, Medals and MenAutobiography2013
Gillian BestThe Last WaveFiction2017
Gisela LinderSchwimmenArt History1999
Glenn StoutYoung Woman and the SeaBiography2009
Greg LouganisBreaking the SurfaceAutobiography1995
Howard MeansSplash! 10,000 Years of SwimmingHistory2020
Ian Gordon & Simon InglisGreat LenghtsHistory2009
Ian ThorpeThis Is MeAutobiography2012
J. C. MatherChallenging WatersMemoir2018
Jack BrightThe Bering PapersMemoir2015
Jack HudsonSwim WildEssay2018
Jacqui HargraveOpen Water WomanMemoir2018
Janet SmithLiquid AssetsHistory2005
Jason WeissCloud Therapy - A Book about SwimmingMemoir2015
Jean M. HenningJeff Farell - Six Days To SwimBiography1970
Jeff CommingsOdd Man OutAutobiography2010
Jeff FarrellMy Olympic Story - Rome 1960Autobiography2014
Jeff WiltseContested WatersHistory2007
Jenny LandrethSwell - A WaterbiographyHistory2017
Jessica Hepburn21 MilesMemoir2018
Jessica J. LeeTurning - A Swimming MemoirMemoir2017
Jim HarrisonThe River SwimmerFiction2013
Joe GrossmanA History of Marathon SwimmingHistory2017
Joe MinihaneFloating - A Life RegainedMemoir2017
John JeromeBlue RoomsMemoir1997
John von DüffelWasser Und Andere WeltenEssay2002
John von DüffelSchwimmenEssay2004
John von DüffelKleine Philosophie der Passionen - SchwimmenEssay2000
John von DüffelWassererzählungenEssay2014
John von DüffelWovon ich screibe - Eine kleine poetik des lebensEssay2009
Jonathan PD BuckleyCool SwimmingScience & History20??
Julie ChekcowayThe Three-Year Swim ClubHistory2015
Julie MurphyRamona BlueFiction2017
Karen ThrosbyImmersion - Marathon Swimming, Embodiment & IdentitySociology2019
Kathy WatsonThe CrossingBiography2001
Katie MayThe Whistable High Tide Swimming ClubFiction2018
Katrina ShawverHenryBiography2017
Kevin DawsonUndercurrents of Power - Aquatic Culture in the African DiasporaHistory2018
Kyle UtsumiSydneys Silver LiningHistory2016
Laura E. YoungSolo, Yet Never Alone - Swimming The Great LakesHistory2014
Laurel Blossom (Ed.)Splash! Great Writing About SwimmingFiction Anthology1996
Leanne ShaptonSwimming StudiesMemoir2012
Leisel JonesBody LengthsAutobiography2017
Lenka JaniurekWatermarks - Life, Death & SwimmingAutobiography2020
Lisa BierFighting The CurrentHistory2011
Lisa CongdonThe Joy of SwimmingCultural History2016
Lynn SherrSwim - Why We Love the WaterHistory2012
Lynne CoxSwimming in the SinkMemoir2016
Lynne CoxSwimming to AntarcticaMemoir2004
Lynne CoxThe Day the Whale Came (aka Grayson)Memoir2006
Lynne RoperWild Woman SwimmingMemoir2018
Margaret A. JarvisCaptain Webb & 100 Years of Channel SwimmingHistory1975
Mark RansomKeep Calm and Swim to FranceMemoir2018
Mark SpitzThe Extraordinary Life of an Olympic ChampionAutobiography2008
Mary-Rose MaccollSwimming HomeFiction2015
Michael PhelpsNo Limits - The Will to SucceedAutobiography2008
Michael SilverGolden GirlBiography2006
Michelle SmithGold - A Triple Champion's StoryAutobiography1996
Mikael RosénÖppet VattenHistory2016
Mike HumphreysIn Cold WaterMemoir2013
Missy FranklinRelentles SpiritAutobiography2016
Murray RoseLife Is Worth SwimmingAutobiography2013
Nicholas OrmeEarly British Swimming 55BC - AD1719History1983
Nicola KeeganSwimmingFiction2009
Olivia LaingTo the RiverCultural History2011
P.H. MullenGold in the WaterHistory2001
Paul Andrew AsmuthMarathon Swimming - The Sport of the SoulMemoir2018
Paul LundgrenWhere Mountains Come to SwimMemoir2015
Peter DalandThe History of Olympic Swimming Vol. 1: 1896-1936History2009
Peter RockThe Night SwimmersFiction2019
Peter SelginDrowning LessonsFiction2008
Philip HoareThe Sea InsideEssay2013
Philip HoareRising Tide Falling StarEssay2017
Ralph ThomasSwimmingHistory1904
Richard J. FosterMark SpitzBiography2008
Rod GilmourThe Pal EffectBiography2015
Roger DeakinSwimmingCultural History2017
Roger DeakinsWaterlogMemoir1999
Ronan Foley et al. (Ed.)Blue Space, Healt and Welbeing - Hydrophilia UnboundedScience2019
Ruth FitzmauriceI Found My TribeMemoir2017
Ryk NeethlingChasing The DreamAutobiography2008
Sally FriedmanSwimming The ChannelMemoir1996
Sam BleakleyMindfulness and SurfingEssay2016
Sara JaffeDrylandFiction2015
Sara StridsbergHappy SallyFiction2004
Sarah Kennedy NorquoySalt on My SkinMemoir2020
Sean ConwayHell and High WaterMemoir2015
Shadrick & Playforth (ed.)Watermarks - Writing by Lido Lovers & Wild SwimmersEssay2017
Shane GouldTumble TurnsAutobiography1999
Shirley BabashoffMaking WavesAutobiography2016
Steve WalkerWhere The Crazy People SwimMemoir2016
Strel & MohlkeThe Man Who Swam The AmazonMemoir2008
Susie ParrThe Story of SwimmingHistory2011
Tessa WardleyThe Mindfull Art of Wild SwimmingEssay2017
Tetsutaro Hasegawa (ed.)Swimming In JapanHistory1935
Tim DahlbergAmerica's GirlBiography2009
Tim JohnsonHistory of Open-water Marathon SwimmingHistory2006
Tim WintonBreathFiction2008
Tom GregoryA Boy in the WaterAutobiography2018
Tristan GooleyHow To Read WaterNature2016
Victoria WhitworthSwimming With SealsMemoir2017
W. Hodding CarterOff the Deep EndMemoir2008
Wallace J. NicholsBlue MindSociology2014
William ThomsonThe Book Of TidesNature2016
William ThomsonThe World Of TidesNature2017
Wim HofThe Wim Hof MethodPhilosophy2020
Yusra MardiniButterfly - From Refugee to OlympianAutobiography2018
Zsuzsa BánkSvømmerenFiction2005
Lydia YuknavitchThe Chronology of WaterMemoir2010


A swimmer and swimming aficionado. I love everything related to the manifestation of swimming references in popular culture and litterature througout history.

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