Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox
Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer (Alex Awards (Awards))

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• 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 Channel—a 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 Strait—the channel that forms the boundary line between the United States and Russia—from 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 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Lynne Cox

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Lynne Cox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Los Alamitos, California, where she still lives. Her articles have appeard in The New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, among other publications.
Published September 4, 2009 by Knopf. 388 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Swimming to Antarctica

Kirkus Reviews

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An awesome study in immersion from long-distance swimmer Cox.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales...

The Guardian

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Swimming in Antarctica:Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox Weidenfeld & Nicolson £18.99, pp336 With the sticky summer nights ahead, this book is sure to cool you down - yet may well raise your blood pressure.

Jul 31 2005 | Read Full Review of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales...

Publishers Weekly

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Cox, one of the world's leading long-distance swimmers, has been a risk-taker ever since she was nine and chose the freezing water of a New Hampshire pool in a storm over getting out and doing calisthenics.

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Entertainment Weekly

The first time Cox visited France she swam there, becoming, at age 15, the fastest person to traverse the English Channel.

Jan 16 2004 | Read Full Review of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales...


That's why, at 17, she fell out of love with channel swimming and, instead, took on the unknown swimming icy lakes, straits and channels that had been thought impossible for a swimmer to breach.

Feb 27 2017 | Read Full Review of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales...

Bookmarks Magazine

Eric Nash NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars "After reading Cox's story, one finds it hard not to ask, 'Why so cold, why so wet?' But as someone who is clearly most comfortable in the water, she may just as easily respond, 'Why dry?'" Erica Sanders Critical Summary As this inspiring me...

Oct 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales...

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