40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

Poolside Reading: Swimming Studies

on January 16, 2016

Swimming Studies: coverI was slow to take to Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press, 2012; hardcover, 320 pages), choosing not to seek it out after positive reviews that somehow didn’t grab me. I accepted a loaner copy from Joe at the beach, though, and found it very engaging once I finally got around to reading it.

This “collection of autobiographical sketches” in prose and images taught me some interesting things, such as about lane-line color patterns. It provides insights into the training and habits of a once top-level, teen-aged Canadian breaststroker–the author. She continues to swim regularly and now is a professional artist and writer whose work turns up frequently in T: The New York Times Style Magazine. She lives in New York, but I don’t think we’ve ever crossed paths.

We’ve swum in many of the same pools, though, from New York to Iceland. Whereas I seem to come away with memories of the actual swim experience, pool history, and architecture, her recollection is much more sensory, from the swim suit she was wearing to the shape of the water.

For example:

Astoria Park Pool, Queens

Astoria Pool, as painted by Shapton

Swimming Studies

loooong pool

40 Pools

Laugardalslaug, Iceland

Shapton's view of Laugardalslaug

Swimming Studies

Laugardalslaug key elements labeled

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It’s a good reminder of how different two people’s impressions of the same experience can be.

That said, the book really is an experience. I won’t colors yours further except by encouraging you to seek it out.

 

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One response to “Poolside Reading: Swimming Studies

  1. Patrick W. Brundage says:

    I quite liked Swimming Studies. My daughter actually found it for me at a funky English bookstore in Greece last summer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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