Your ‘Read More Swimming Books’ New Year’s Resolution Guide

by Retta Race 6

January 08th, 2019 Lifestyle, News

New Year’s resolutions often involving doing more or less of something to better one’s self in the coming 365 days. Why not add the resolution to read more to your list and start your year off right with some books related to our favorite competitive past time?

Below are just a handful of swimming-related books, ranging from serious to fun, on the market today just waiting to be tossed into your bag to help get you through your next meet.

Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion (2016); Authors: Missy Franklin, D.A. Franklin, Dick Franklin, Daniel Paisner

The Franklin family enlightens the world on how Missy grew from a peppy little age grouper into a happy and confident young woman, becoming an Olympic champion along the way. Per, the book “includes the highs, the tough moments, and everything in-between. Relentless Spirit tells the story of a woman—and a family—full of love, heart, faith, and resilience.”

Beneath the Surface: My Story (2016); Authors: Michael Phelps, Bob Costas, Brian Cazeneuve

The most iconic name in swimming, Michael Phelps, gives us his raw memoir addressing both personal and professional issues. Spanning subjects such as his early attention deficit disorder battles to his training for a 5th Olympics to his steel-like mental resilience, says that “Beneath the Surface is a must-read for any sports fan.”

Swimmer Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book (2018); Author: Papeterie Bleu

Bring along this adult coloring book dedicated to #thatswimlife to let your mind drift away colorfully on the pool deck. Each page lets you express your aquatic self through color to help pass the time between events.

The Swimming Pool in Photography (2018); Author: Francis Hodgson

Described as ‘a photographic leap in cool waters’, this book is a collection of reflective photography by artists such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gigi Cifali, Stuart Franklin and Harry Gruyaert. Instead of seeing the pool as a weapon of bodily destruction, meditate on these photos to bring peace back into your liquid life.

Swimming Fastest (2003); Author: Ernest Maglischo

One of the go-to books by top coaches, ‘Swimming Fastest’ gives us the science behind our favorite sport, including stroke technique and training methods. Topics of hydrodynamics and exercise physiology are covered and are as relevant today as they were when this book was revised more than 15 years ago.

BRB, I Need to go to Swim Practice: A Girl’s Guide to Competition, Confidence and Fun Through Swimming; Author: Lucy Alessi

10-year-old Buffalo, New York native Lucy Alessi published this 47-page homage to her trials and triumphs as a member of two Western New York swim teams. In what Alessi describes as ‘the greatest sport’, the young author says her book ‘helps kids develop good habits like listening to coaches, developing a skill, overcoming disappointment, developing confidence and having fun.’  We could all learn a thing or two from fresh eyes on the sport.

Underwater Dogs (2012); Author: Seth Casteel

Love dogs? Love swimming? Love dogs that are swimming? Get your fix of both worlds with this collection of over 80 portraits by award-winning pet photographer and animal rights activist Seth Casteel. Immerse yourself in a fictional game of catch with these canines, with their fur, bubbles and energetic eyes captured in a loving way. Who knows, this may make your next underwater set not seem too bad.

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If you can find them, Chuck Warner’s books,
“And Then They Won Gold” and “Four Champions One Gold Medal” are particularly interesting and inspiring.


Gold in the Water is the best book about swimming that I’ve ever read. Very interesting and extremely well written it tells the story of a good but not great swimmer Tom Wilkinson, who walked on to the Stanford swim team and then medaled at the Olympics. Through sheer hard work, determination and a crazy coach who either was the reason he achieved what he did or despite what he did. Dara Torres makes a cameo and the famous Santa Clara Swim Club is the backdrop for this great swimming story.

He Said What?

Many of the books you can’t find in hard copy are easily found at iBooks or elsewhere. I was especially fascinated with the book by Leisel Jones, BODY LENGTHS, along with MAKING WAVES by Shirley Babashoff, IN THE WATER THEY CAN’T SEE YOU CRY, by Amanda Beard, THIS IS ME, by Ian Thorpe, etc. There are so many to grab and devour over and over. The insight into the private lives of these human beings who were gifted with athletic talent and a drive to succeed is amazing and inspiring.

He Said What?

Wow, I must have some enemies on this site to merit a thumbs down on my post.


The Three Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory is my all time favorite swim book. It’s about Japanese-American swimmers in Hawaii in the years before WWII. The swimming part is great, but the historical account of the geopolitical landscape at the time as also fascinating.

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