PRAISE FOR SWIMMING TO ANTARCTICA
"This would make a great story even if Cox couldn't write. But she can . . . She's done things the rest of us only imagine-and she's written a book that helps us to imagine them with clarity and wonder." -THE BOSTON GLOBE
"What emerges here is an athlete whose determination is so fierce that it seems almost exotic. She is fit. She is focused. She is Lance Armstrong with body fat."-USA TODAY
"More than the story of the greatest open-water swimmer, Swimming to Antarctica is a portrait of rare and relentless drive . . . Cox's understated style makes for gripping reading."
Thrilling , vivid, and lyrical, an inspiring account of a life of aspiration and adventure.
Gripping reading...Swimming to Antaritica is a portrait of rare and relentless drive.
"All of [her] superhuman escapades are vividly detailed in Cox's absorbing memoir."
"An absorbing, well-written memoir. The paperback edition is even better than the hardcover, with more maps and photographs."
The Barnes & Noble Review
A world-class athlete on the order of cyclist Lance Armstrong or triathlon champ Mark Allen, Lynn Cox has accomplished some amazing goals during her extraordinary career as a long-distance swimmer. At 15, she crossed the English Channel in record time; she was the first swimmer to navigate the Strait of Magellan and to round the Cape of Good Hope; and in 1987, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by swimming across the Bering Strait as a gesture of goodwill between the U.S. and Russia. But beyond the thrill of breaking records and meeting challenges, Cox is driven by her spirit of adventure and a boundless love of the open sea -- a mysterious, mutable medium that produces in her an almost Zen-like bliss that radiates from every page of this delightful memoir.
In sparkling prose that evokes each euphoric moment, she recounts the highlights of an astonishing career that began at age 14 with her first nighttime swim in the phosphorescent waters of Catalina Channel, where flying fish sailed over her head in giddy, iridescent arcs. Buoyed -- literally -- by a perfectly balanced ratio of body fat to muscle, Cox's plump physique endowed her with an unusual tolerance for cold water, motivating her to undertake ever more ambitious challenges culminating in the event of the book's title: her historic one-mile swim to Antarctica in bone-numbing 32-degree waters.
Shot through with colorful portraits of family and friends and vignettes of the daunting challenges she has faced (dead rats, treacherous whirlpools, man-eating sharks, and glacial ice, to name a few), Cox's autobiography also includes fascinating tidbits of meteorological, navigational, and medical arcana. Dive into it for a mesmerizing read! Anne Markowski
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 open-water event, a team race across the Catalina Channel, convinced her to train for the English Channel. At 15, she broke the Channel record, and decided she needed a new goal. Up to this point, Cox's story reads like a fairy tale of hard work, careful planning and good support, crowned with success. It isn't until she competes in the Nile River swim that the tale turns ugly-she's swimming in raw sewage and chemical waste, fending off the dead rats and broken glass, so sick with dysentery she lands in the hospital. Undeterred, she plans more ambitious swims-around the shark-infested Cape of Good Hope, across Alaska's Glacier Bay-to prepare for her big dream, a swim from Alaska to the Soviet Union across the Bering Strait. While offering herself to researchers studying the effects of cold on the human body, her political goals are even larger: to bring countries and peoples together, using swimming "to establish bridges between borders." Cox ends her story with her swim to Antarctica, where she finishes the first Antarctic mile in 32-degree water in 25 minutes. Even though readers know she survived to tell the tale, it's a thrilling, awesome and well-written story. (Jan.) Forecast: Knopf plans lots of media for this inspirational book, including a nine-city author tour, a profile in Biography magazine, an appearance on NPR, ads in USA Today and features in women's, sports and travel magazines. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Many stories of athletes who achieve at a high level tell of enduring demanding coaches, grueling practice sessions, and personal deprivation in quest of a goal. But few athletes aim for and succeed in as challenging an area as swimmer Lynne Cox. As early as age 14, Lynne felt restricted by swimming laps in even the largest pool. She joined a group training to swim across a stretch of open ocean. She tells how over the next 30 years she took on ever more challenging swims, specializing in long-distance, cold-water swimming. Her energy was always high, and she mastered the special techniques that enabled her to swim at a high speed. She learned how her body reacted to cold and how to keep from caving in to the ever-awaiting disasters. She learned how to read the ocean, to go deeper when large waves rolled in, to anticipate whirlpools and dodge pieces of ice in the water. Readers follow Lynne as she swims the English Channel, the Strait of Magellan, and the Cape of Good Hope. She swims near Egypt, Iceland, and New Zealand. She swims Glacier Bay in Alaska and then, when the Cold War needs some human warmth to thaw a bit, she swims the Bering Strait. Finally, Lynne swims a length of ocean near Antarctica, moving through waters one to three degrees above freezing temperature. That she could do this without the wet suits that would have protected her from the cold made her the subject of scientific examination. An excellent choice for aspiring high school athletes. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Harcourt, Harvest, 359p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.
Cox shares with her readers a truly amazing life. She was a gifted swimmer from her childhood, and it quickly became apparent that her strength was in long-distance swimming rather than the comparatively short races of Olympic competition. After setting a record for swimming the English Channel when she was only 15, she longed to make a difference in the world with her skill and realized that swimming from shore to shore symbolically brought the two together. She immediately set her sights on swimming the Bering Strait between Alaska and the then-Soviet Union. Much of the book details her 12-year odyssey to get permission for this swim, but she also eloquently writes of her other record-setting swims, including the Strait of Magellan and around the Cape of Good Hope, where she was nearly attacked by a shark. And, of course, there is her frigid 1.06-mile swim to Antarctica in 32-degree water. The writing is workmanlike at best, but Cox's sincerity and her love for the sport shine through, making this a good addition to all sports collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/03.]-Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
An awesome study in immersion from long-distance swimmer Cox. Pools never seemed enough for the author as a girl: too confining, without room to stretch her frame, no rhythm or tempo to the water. Cox had her first experience with wide-open water in bad weather before she reached her teens; she felt exultant, and the experience had the inevitability of a calling. Here, she recounts those early days in melodiously bright prose-at times a little too bright ("I loved gathering brilliantly colored leaves in fall, and building snow caves in the winter. But I knew that I wanted to be a great swimmer"), but mostly a satisfying counterpart to the punishing conditions. At first, the swims were long and hard, though Cox had an ace up her sleeve: as one doctor explained, "Your proportion of fat to muscle is perfectly balanced so you don't float or sink in the water; you're at one with the water." She tore up the record book in terms of times and first crossings, meanwhile learning that it was not just about swimming, but also about logistics and contending with stuff in the water, like garbage, dead rats, the slipstream of tankers, and creatures of the deep. (Off the Cape of Good Hope, one of her tenders mentioned, "a twelve-foot bronze whaler shark came out of the kelp for you. He had his mouth open all the way.") Cox's early, unfeigned innocence-as she completed her record-shattering English Channel swim, she noted that she'd never been to France before-was slowly eclipsed by a determination to confront the iciest of waters. Her mile-long swim in 32-degree water off Antarctica was a (literally) mind-boggling investigation into extremes, but Cox wanted to do more than test limits of humanendurance; she also aspired to serve as an ambassador of peace in her swims across international waters. An otherworldly existence brought hugely to life. Author tour