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Off the Deep End: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way through a Midlife Crisis--and Qualify for the Olympics
     

Off the Deep End: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way through a Midlife Crisis--and Qualify for the Olympics

3.3 3
by W. Hodding Carter
 

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Hodding Carter dreamed of being an Olympian as a kid. He worshipped Mark Spitz, swam his heart out, and just missed qualifying for the Olympic trials in swimming as a college senior. Although he didn't qualify for the 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, or 2004 Olympics, he never stopped believing he could make it. And despite past failures and the passage

Overview


Hodding Carter dreamed of being an Olympian as a kid. He worshipped Mark Spitz, swam his heart out, and just missed qualifying for the Olympic trials in swimming as a college senior. Although he didn't qualify for the 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, or 2004 Olympics, he never stopped believing he could make it. And despite past failures and the passage of time, Carter began his quest once more at the age of forty-two.

Maybe he's crazy. But then again, maybe he's onto something. He entered the Masters Championships. He swam three to four miles each day, six days a week. He pumped iron, trained with former Olympians, and consulted with swimming gurus and medical researchers who taught him that the body doesn't have to age. He swam with sharks (inadvertently) in the Virgin Islands, suffered hypothermia in a relay around Manhattan, and put on fifteen pounds of muscle. Amazingly, he discovered that his heartbeat could keep pace with the best of the younger swimmers'. And each day he felt stronger, swam faster, and became more convinced that he wasn't crazy.

This outrageous, courageous chronicle is much more than Carter's race with time to make it to the Olympics. It's the exhilarating story of a man who rebels against middle age the only way he can—by chasing a dream. His article in Outside magazine, on which this book is based, was the winner of a Lowell Thomas award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
"Mr. Carter's voice is so infectiously charming and innocent, and the prose is so affable, even the hardships sound fun."—The Baltimore Sun
National Geographic Review
"Funny and self-deprecating and sweetly engaging."—National Geographic Adventure
Kirkus Reviews
Simultaneously self-deprecating and self-affirming memoir by a college swimming champion trying to improve his times while in his mid-40s. Dissatisfied with his life as a freelance writer struggling to pay the bills, to get along with his lawyer wife Lisa and to rear four young children, Outside contributor Carter (Flushed: How the Plumber Save Civilization, 2006, etc.) found refuge in competitive swimming. He had been a Division III All-American and national champ while at Kenyon College, and although he realized that swimming on the U.S. Olympic team as he neared eligibility for AARP membership was probably just a dream, he decided to go for it. Training almost daily, he developed muscle mass and improved upon the race times of his youth. Perhaps more importantly, Carter discovered that the physical and mental routines provided satisfaction on many levels. ("I've been happy many times in my life," he writes, "but satisfied? Hardly ever.") That heightened satisfaction repaired a frayed marriage and family life. On almost every page, the author injects humor, usually at his own expense and most of it found in footnotes at the bottom of the pages-a clever device in an otherwise non-scholarly book. But he can also be serious, as when he shares the results of his study into whether the aging process can be delayed by rigorous physical exercise. Gurus such as Joel Stager, director of Indiana University's Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, guided Carter through his challenge of the conventional wisdom that after age 25 muscle mass declines by one percent annually. Perhaps the most important guide, however (other than his wife), was Jim Steen, his former coach at Kenyon, who allowedCarter back on campus as part of the book project. The final pages project goofy optimism that Olympic competition is within his grasp. So well-written that even non-swimmers will enjoy reading about Carter's Olympic quest. Agent: Sally Wofford-Girand/Wofford-Girand Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565125643
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
06/10/2008
Pages:
209
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Off the Deep End is hilarious and insightful. It's far more than a book about swimming. Carter's story will inspire people to go for their dreams at any age, and you can never get enough of that. I love this book!"

—Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson

“Hodding Carter hasn’t just discovered the fountain of youth, he’s gone swimming in it. This book is as fast and funny a read as Carter is an insanely ambitious swimmer, undaunted by the ostensible limitations of middle age.” –Will Blythe, author of To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever

Meet the Author


W. Hodding Carter was an NCAA Division III All-American and a national champion on his college swim team. He is a contributing writer for Outside magazine, has written for Esquire and Gourmet, and is the author of five previous books of nonfiction.

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Off the Deep End: The Probably Insane Idea That I Could Swim My Way through a Midlife Crisis--and Qualify for the Olympics 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
An easy read, very entertaining. W. Hodding Carter is a nice guy, even though he made the unfortunate choice to attend college in Gambier Ohio. With tongue fimrmly planted in cheek, he recounts his efforts to qualify for the 2008 (oops, let's make that 2012) Olympics as a sprinter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a twenty something, professional woman and I have little in common with W. Hodding Carter. Despite this fact, I found Off the Deep End to be charming and inspirational. Although it is no great work of literature, Off the Deep End brings back fond memories of being on a swim team as a kid. I warmly remember the aroma of chlorine and the silky cool water gliding across my skin. Although I didn¿t have Olympic potential as a kid and I could care less about the Summer Olympics today, I can certainly relate to Carter¿s desire to beat the odds and make the cut for the Olympics. I am pullin` for ya Hoddo - make your readers proud!