Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer
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Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,973 ratings  ·  426 reviews
Now in paperback, with photos and maps added especially for this new edition, here is the acclaimed life story of a woman whose drive and determination inspire everyone she touches.

Lynne Cox started swimming almost as soon as she could walk. By age sixteen, she had broken all records for swimming the English Channel. Her daring eventually led her to the Bering Strait, wher...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 7th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published 2004)
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When I first heard of the book I was sure the title was figurative and poetic, but it turns out to be quite literal: the author is a distance swimmer who set her goggled sights on the Antarctica and made it happen.

What's more, she didn't make a grand production of it; probably wisely assuming that the experience in itself would bring its own grandness. Instead of gearing up in the latest advancement of wetsuit technology or other innovation of the boom in extreme athletic consumerism, Cox kept t...more
Swimming to Antarctica
By Lynne Cox
323 Pages

Swimming to Antarctica is an absolutely amazing book. It’s incredibly inspirational. Lynne takes you on a journey starting in New Hampshire when she was merely twelve years old and shows you some of her most amazing swims. I’ve never found swimming to be overly exciting and she showed me the water through different eyes. Her absolute enthusiasm is infectious. Being able to see Lynne’s experiences through her eyes also helps you to see how humble she re...more
Jennifer Lane
What an amazing story showing the strength and fortitude of women. How Lynne Cox manages to swim in icy waters I'll never know. I remember hiding from my high school swim coach when the pool heater would break, and I can't imagine WILLINGLY diving into the ocean surrounding Antartica!
Oct 14, 2010 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: open water swimmers, anyone seeking inspiration
Shelves: autobio, water
I had to give this book five stars as I am in total awe of Lynne Cox. Before cracking the book I assumed that the title was a metaphor - no, she actually swam in Anarctica and get this: she swam in just a speedo as in "look Ma, NO WETSUIT!" Her ability to withstand subfreezing water temps underscores that she is obviously a unique physical specimen but more compelling is the mental toughness and singleness of purpose she displays in the pursuit of her open water swimming goals.

If I had one crit...more
I agree with another reviewer -- if I could give this book 3.5 stars, I would. Lynne Cox is an amazing inspiration -- she's the kind of woman you want to have dinner with. She's interesting, she's driven and she's experienced a lot more than most people will in their lives. She's swam in waters off Alaska, in a lake in Iceland, a filthy Nile River and of course, near Antarctica. Her drive, internal motivation, and overall zest for life were amazing.

I enjoyed learning about the early part of her...more
Apr 14, 2012 Stacia rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of adventure/outdoor non-fiction
Shelves: 2012
I'd really give this 3.5.

I (finally) finished "Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer" by Lynne Cox. Even though I enjoyed it, for some reason, I feel like it took me a long time to read it.

I was thoroughly swept away reading about Lynne Cox's swims in rivers, lakes, & oceans around the world. Wow. Her swimming feats are totally amazing. I do wish there would have been a few maps in the book to detail some of the bodies of water where she was swimming. Also, there were a f...more
If the entire book read like the Prologue, titled A Cold Day in August, the reader could simply not put it down. This piece, published previously in the New Yorker, puts the reader in the freezing cold water of the Bearing Strait struggling to swim through the dense fog--wow! For me it evoked the treatment Sebastian Junger gave drowning in The Perfect Storm: a visceral experience conveyed so deftly that the reader becomes the subject struggling to survive.

Overall, I enjoyed learning how Lynne C...more
This engaging and well-written memoir puts the reader right in the water with long-distance (and cold-water) swimmer Lynne Cox. Every time I set the book down, I felt like having a hot shower or a hot beverage to warm up. The author does a great job of describing her mental state, her thoughts and feelings during a swim, and the crew required to make her swims possible.

At the same time, the author provides almost no information about her life other than the described swims. There's no descriptio...more
For someone who is not entirely enthralled with non-fiction, this was one novel that definitely moved me and inspired me in many ways. The writing was not top of the line, but when can a non-writer write a book with the tenacity and grace as some of the finest authors in the world? Exactly. So, going in thinking that this book is just going to be a good read and incredible, is the right frame of mind to be in. Being a swimmer, and someone who aspires to great heights, this is almost essential re...more
You have to read it to believe it - Lynne's swimming tales defy what anyone would believe is humanly possible. (Every time I shared stories from this book with my husband he asked me if I was sure the book was non-fiction.) Lynne broke the world record for swimming the English Channel at age 15 and went on to accomplish many first-ever swims around the world, including Cook Strait and the Bering Strait. She swam miles through foul pollution, blinding fog, stormy eight-foot waves, actual whirlpoo...more
Don Becher
I would actually rank this as 2 1/2 -- but not an option. I admire the author's determination and her feats of open water swimming are amazing, but unfortunately the book struck as on of those Scholastic Books we used to get in the 5th grade -- which is about the reading level the book appears to be. The events related surrounding her swimming career are, however, truly fascinating.

As a small aside, I wonder a little about the detail in which she describes her swims. Unless she kept a journal o...more
Peter Rock
3.5. I mean, you cannot contend with Lynne Cox as a swimmer; her feats are historic, epic, crazy. But the structure of the book is a little tired--each chapter takes up another swim, more or less, and much time is spent on logistics and planning and difficulties. Very little time is put into describing the swimming, or to reflecting on just what it is that makes a woman want to swim these distances, and in these temperatures.

It's also curious how what begins as a love of open water swimming and...more
This was a terrifying, inspiring and amazing story. Given Ms. Cox's relative anonymity, I was ashamed to learn of the breadth and depth of this woman's accomplishments. What a courageous role-model and gritty individual, I felt like going out and exercising after just a few chapters.

The only barrier for me was the actual writing. It reads a bit too "matter of factly" for my taste. Descriptions are a bit too simplified. For example, when she describes overcoming the pain of a long-distance swim,...more
You'll like this book if you're a swimmer, an athlete, or need some encouragement to chase your dreams. While I consider myself an athlete (somedays) I was lost at times, not feeling any inward affection for the character to reach her goals, when they were goals simply to be achieved, ie, had no other purpose. But that being said, it was fascinating to see how her body adapted to the extreme tests she put it through, and to see her survive a trip to Egypt.
Mar 29, 2008 Diane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Diane by: Amberly's sister Kaitlyn
Lynne Cox's story of her mulitple swims in challenging conditions was inspiring. She was born to do what she does--that is, swim long distances (or even relatively short distances) in cold, open water. But how she has used that to bring countries closer together is the truly amazing part. Her humility in her accomplishments and her acknowledgement of the support her "team" gave her on each of her swims is a rarity in American athletes.

Jun 23, 2008 Chad rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who has open-water experience or lofty goals of achieving an open-water experience.
Recommended to Chad by: Emily Scott
Lynne Cox was a very ambitious child and I can't recall ever reading of someone more couragious at such a young age. The writing isn't stellar, but I think that helps to portray the honesty that comes out of this book--like she has been holding it in for years and now all she has left are the essential details.

There are many of those essential details left.
Man, Lynne Cox comes across as conceited and self-aggrandizing. I really hoped to enjoy this book, but was really disappointed. She glosses over many things that I'd really wished she'd given more details about. Redeeming factor: google Lynne Cox and watch her flop into the water during the 60 Minutes II interview she referrs to in the book.
Aug 16, 2007 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: swimmers
The author is completely crazy - she is physically capable of keeping her body temperature high enough to stay submerged in water at 32 degrees for an hour. But as a distance swimmer I can understand her drive to a disturbing degree. If you are an endurance athlete of any kind, then this is an inspiring story.
Deb Salzer
Sep 28, 2007 Deb Salzer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes stories of kick-ass female athletes
Open water swimming in 32 degree water is not for pansies. Lynne Cox is a tough-as-nails swimmer with a passion for spreading peace through her coast to coast swims. Inspirational story. I've done a couple open water swims and this story makes me want to do more! Watch out Lake Superior...
Interesting first person account of the swimming adventures of long distance swimmer Lynne Cox, who swam the English Channel in record time as a teenager and then graduated to other challenging swims, most involving very cold temperatures, such as crossing the Bering Strait and swimming a mile in Antarctic waters. It is an engaging story and makes you think about what motivates an athlete to take on challenges that are not only physically arduous, but are also life-threatening. The book is well-...more
I met the author last night. I haven't read the book, but she's a great speaker, and her life story is amazing! She swam 1.22 nautical miles, ship to shore, in Antarctica. She was 46 years old at the time!
True autobiography of "Lance Armstrong with body fat." This woman has swum some of the coldest, most dangerous, and longest distances of any swimmer ever. AMAZING. Fairly well-told, too.
Very fascinating, haven't read a book in quite some time where I constantly said out loud, "This lady is crazy!" Talk about an extreme sport, an extreme body, and an extreme thinker to face these crazy challenges, but for me it was a little beyond just amazing when she's chopping through arctic ice with her hands as she swims, and having friends shoot sharks so they don't attack her. Like I said, crazy! It was an interesting read and kept me intrigued, I'd normally rate it 4 stars for interest,...more
Awesome memoir of a female athlete breaking records and completing amazing swims. The books reads like a good novel, hard to put it down!
Dena Mitchell
A person who took on challenges and showed amazing endurance and test of character to persist with a goal.
Sudheer Kumar
This book is a delightful read,provides an excellent insight into the life of an open water swimmer. written by Lynne Cox,an accomplished swimmer who created a lot of swimming records and firsts,the book is about her travels across the world in search of new and often difficult swimming challenges.Her swims across the dangerous and treacherous straits like the Strait of Magellan in the South America and the Cook Strait in New Zealand are my favourites in the book.

She promoted ties between count...more
So I know some of you won't like my reaction to this book, but here goes.

My only question is this...why? Why in the world does anyone swim in really cold water? To me, it's like UFC fighting. It's okay to fight to the death if someone is trying to rape your wife or kill your son. But, to me, it's not okay to fight....just to win. Or just to say you did. And that's what kept running through my mind as I read this. Sure, she swam the English Channel to break the record. But as the swims got more c...more
There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. When it comes to elite athletes, they are gifted and sometimes as in Lynn's case, appear to have been born to do what they do so it is understandable they would have a lot of confidence. Lynn has the perfect ratio of body fat to muscle combined with the ability to keep her core body temperature warmer than the average person. Ergo, she can swim long distances in very cold water. Very, very cold water - like antarctic cold.

Lynn wrote tha...more
Aug 11, 2011 Mssuzyq623 rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: swimmers only
Recommended to Mssuzyq623 by: Peter McDevitt, Jr
This is not the type of book I would ever read. But since my father-in-law, a University swim coach and avid reader was so impressed with it, I thought I would give it a try. I suppose it is "good" if you are a swimmer, but it is not really a "story". I was less interested in the logistics of her setting up her swims, than I would be in the relationship she had with her parents, if she had a boyfriend EVER, did she have a job or a home? Or just live with her parents while planning these swims. T...more
This long distance swimmer is amazing. When she was just eight, swimming lap after lap on a frigid hail storming day in an outdoor pool, a woman commented to her "someday you'll swim the English Channel." The comment stuck in Lynne Cox's mind and inspired her. At just fifteen years old, she swam the Channel faster than any man or woman of any age had ever swum it. She went on to swim many other record breaking and/or never attempted ocean swims, including her successful Bering Strait swim (betwe...more
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Lynne Cox is an American long-distance open-water swimmer and writer.
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