At once inspiring, hilarious, and honest, the new book from Alexandra Heminsley chronicles her endeavor to tackle a whole new element, and the ensuing challenges and joys of open water swimming.
“It's a meditative act,” they said. But it was far from meditative for Alexandra Heminsley when yet another wave slammed into her face. It was survival.
When she laced up her shoes in Running Like a Girl, all she had to do to become a runner was to get out there and run. But swimming was something else entirely. The water was all-consuming, confusing her every move, sabotaging every breath. Determined, Alexandra would learn to adapt, find new strengths, and learn to work with the water. She does not want to stand on the beach looking at the sea any longer. She wants to leap in.
In doing so she will learn not just how to accept herself, but how to accept what lay beyond. Soon, she will be able to see water, anywhere in the world and sense not fear but adventure. She will dive into water as she hopes to dive into life. And it has nothing to do with being “sporty” or being the correct shape for a swimsuit.
Open water swimming is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and marathon swimming is the only sport where men and women do not race in separate categories. The water welcomes all who are willing and prepared to take part, and as Alexandra shows in her wondrous and funny book, not knowing how to do something is not necessarily a weakness—strength lies within the desire to learn. The time is now to leap in, and revel in what you thought was beyond you, discovering that it was only ever you holding you back.
Alexandra Heminsley is a journalist, broadcaster, ghostwriter and the author of Running Like a Girl. She is the books editor for Elle UK and a contributor to the BBC. She lives in Brighton, in the United Kingdom.