Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer (Alex Awards (Awards)) Info

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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.

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