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Swimming to Antartica
Lynne Cox
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Swimming to Antartica

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,621 Ratings  ·  499 Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Cox, one of the world's leading long-distance swimmers, has been a risk-taker ever since she was nine and chose the freezing water of a New Hampshire pool in a storm over getting out and doing calisthenics. After her family moved to California so she and her siblings could train as speed swimmers, she discovered long-distance ocean swimming. Her first
Paperback, 360 pages
Published by Harcourt (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 25, 2008 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Patti's Book Nook
I was on my neighborhood swim team in elementary school. I wish I'd had the opportunity to continue, or enough self-awareness to ask my parents to find an indoor pool at the end of the season. Fast forward to this summer when I joined the YMCA and began lap swimming again as my kids go through swim lessons.

I'm embarrassed it's taken me this long to get back to the water. My form needs work and my breathing is atrocious, but I'm thrilled to be experiencing the joy
Oct 30, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2012 Stacia rated it liked it  ·  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
Sep 01, 2010 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: page-turner
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
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
Jan 11, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2015 sendann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that I get a little bit excessive in my enthusiasm for some of the books that I read. Fine. This book is INSANE. I actually cringed, gagged, screamed, and closed this book in terror several times while reading. As an athlete I found it deeply motivational and inspiring, in the inhaling the spirit sense of the word. And just as a person, it's so, so well told and exciting. This book is hard to stop reading, like one of those premium cable tv shows you watch all in ...more
Sep 23, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2008 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Apr 30, 2008 Jacki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 16, 2007 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 01, 2008 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 23, 2008 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 16, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was frankly shocked at how much I liked this book. I just really like endurance sports and I loved that Cox was such a female trailblazer. Good, readable writing. It was one of those books that I was telling everyone about. Recommended.
Sarah Leonard
Sep 16, 2012 Sarah Leonard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent memoir. The writing is not top notch, but her life is*)!
She's an incredible woman with an incredible story to share.
Aug 18, 2013 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: endurance-sports
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
Jun 15, 2008 Dena Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A person who took on challenges and showed amazing endurance and test of character to persist with a goal.
Jan 10, 2008 Jana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 02, 2016 Camille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
My boss gave me this book to read as a professional/personal development activity. It took a little while to get around to starting it, given that I have a long line up of books of my own choice to read, however I enjoyed it far more than I anticipated.

Lynne's story is surprisingly well written, and follows a nice structure that has a flow that is not expected in these memoirs of distinct events (the string of swims she writes about). While these swims are all Lynne's own personal and solo dream
Jan 02, 2017 Elise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was extremely inspiring to me and I think I will be coming back to it often so that I can apply some of the psychological elements described to my life. I read in 2 days, which I only do very rarely.

This reads like fiction as there is always tension to see if the author will achieve her goals.

I also really liked the writing style and especially the "flow of consciousness" passages where you felt you were in the water right along with her.

I would recommend this to anybody who likes a
Nov 09, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
On the evening of this historic day, I finished a wonderful book standing on an el train platform because I only had three pages left. It was too dark to read and walk home, so I paused and let the words sink in.

When asked by a child whether she would still be happy if she worked really hard toward a goal and didn't accomplish it, Lynne responded, "I would have been happy that I tried to reach my goal, but if I didn't succeed, I would want to go back and figure out what I thought I needed to do
Nov 29, 2016 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in one sitting. Cox is a phenomenal athlete and a compelling writer. Even though her experiences swimming sound like they'd be utterly miserable to people who don't have her determination, love of the sport, and acclimatization to cold water, she brings a kind of immersive joy to writing about that it was like for her that the reader can catch. Vivid prose, daunting challenges, plenty of adventure -- I recommended the book to two people while I was still on the last chapter.
Jan 06, 2017 Ray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing! When I first saw this book I thought it was going to be incredible boring because I have a extreme dislike for biographies, but since my brother gave it to me I read it. None of the chapters are boring, I looked forward reading the next one. What amazing adventures Lynne Cox had, I swim in a closed pool, and swimming in the open sea is hard, you need to have a lot of strenght. But not only did she swam in challenging places, but she enjoyed it. You can feel by her words that she was lov ...more
Sep 22, 2016 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this autobiography. When an individual chooses to share her experiences with the world through a literary medium, I accept that I am not reading a crafted story or even an inspirational biography. I like that the voice is as unique as each person. In Swimming to Antarctica: Tales or a Long-Distance Swimmer, Cox balances adventure, science and breathtaking descriptions in sharing her experiences as the world's most amazing open water swimmer. She tells tales of endurance, friends ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
I can't for the life of me remember where I heard about this book, but I apparently put it on hold at the library as soon as I heard about it. When the email came that it was in, I was a little confused. But I gamely went and got it and started reading.

Side note: people really shouldn't wait so long past the library due date to bring books back. It confuses the next people in line who forgot they requested it.

Lynne Cox was born in 1957 and has been swimming pretty much all her life. She discover
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Lynne Cox is an American long-distance open-water swimmer and writer.
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“You know, the ocean is a very, very beautiful place. It is God’s gift to us,” 1 likes
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