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Open Water: The History and Technique of…

Open Water: The History and Technique of Swimming (edition 2019)

by Mikael Rosén (Author)

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157979,151 (3.69)1
Dive deep into the world of swimming with open water swimmer and coach Mikael Rosén as he explores the sport through eight different perspectives. With topics ranging from the vigorous mental and physical demands of the sport to gender and race politics, no reader will be left treading water. Rosén also provides a look into the lives of professional swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Sarah Sjöström, sharing insights into what makes these greats super swimmers. Packed with interesting history, science, and trivia, as well as useful charts, maps, sidebars, tips, and strategies--plus plenty of photos sprinkled throughout--this compendium is a must-have for any athlete or swimming fanatic.… (more)
Title:Open Water: The History and Technique of Swimming
Authors:Mikael Rosén (Author)
Info:Chronicle Books (2019), 360 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Your library

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Open Water: The History and Technique of Swimming by Mikael Rosén



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was a summer league / high school swimmer for around eight years, and was an active masters swimmer for six years. Suffice to say, I've spent a lot of time training in pools and competing in swim meets. From that perspective, I really couldn't say what the intended audience is for this book. It's too technical for people outside of the sport and too superficial for active athletes. The title is also a bit misleading. Although the author does coach the Swedish open water swim team and spend a fair amount of words on the open water version of the sport, the majority of the chapters cover indoor swimming.

The book presents a fairly comprehensive overview of the modern sport of swimming, but the scattershot approach and complete lack of topic organization makes this a frustrating read. For example, here are all the topics covered over 30 pages in Chapter 7 ("Man and the Sea"): Matthew Webb (19th century swimming celebrity), death by drowning, the century of feats, African swimming stars, Abdellatief Abouheif (the most famous Egyptian swimmer), a checklist for extreme long-distance swimming, archaeological and historical evidence for the practice of swimming, Cuba to Florida swimming attempts, swimming in open water (described by type of event and characteristics), tips for how to handle extreme water temperatures, more of Matthew Webb's story, and a list of eight open-water competitions. Each topic ends abruptly and there is definitely no segue between each section. How is the reader supposed to find information that might be of particular interest? I really have no idea, because neither the table of contents nor the index clarifies where each type of information (lists, tables, tips, historical discussion, meandering narrative, etc.) is located.

I can't recommend this book; there are undoubtedly better sources of information out there for tips, tricks, and training recommendations for athletes, and more focused and better-written histories of the sport. I received this book as a free advanced reading copy, but this review is (obviously) my own opinion. ( )
  dpcain321 | Nov 9, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I obtained this book through a give-away, and was immediately impressed by its ample size and clean design. Although I myself am not a swimmer, I have an aunt who has been a competitive swimmer, so I had some knowledge of the sport. I found Open Water: The History and Technique of Swimming to be a comprehensive, information-packed and well laid out book. It covers everything from the history of the sport, with amazing records and legendary swimmers for swimming enthusiasts to tips and checklists for the athlete. The chapters are concise and chock-full of useful and fascinating information, and the lay-out helps the reader to get the most out of each chapter, including shaded boxes that highlight lists, stats and practical suggestions for swimmers. For example, chapter 4 "The Animal Kingdom" outlines the physics of many species with regard to their propulsion through the water and compares these with human swimming, as well as offering what can be learned from these incredible creatures. In chapter 7 "Man and the Sea", the topic of open water swimming is addressed, including a helpful list of tips for cold-water swimming and specifics regarding swimming in open water. With bits of humor thrown in around the substance, this can truly be termed a complete book on the sport and was, even for me, the non-swimmer, an obviously excellent book on the sport. Highly recommended for any athlete who wants to improve their swim as well as their swimming literacy. ( )
  KateSparrow | Nov 8, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was expecting a dry manual when I saw the book but was pleasantly surprised. Very informative without being dry or pedantic. Gives history of swimming as a sport in all its forms, advice on training, information on physiology, stories of famous swimmers. Well worth reading if you have any interest at all in the sport. ( )
  bgknighton | Sep 30, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a curious history of the sport of swimming told in no particular order with many many graphs, and charts as well as useful advice for everything from improving your swimming time to knowing when you are drowning. I enjoyed reading about famous Olympic moments in swimming history as well as the stories about endurance and open water swimming competitions. It's astonishing to me the lengths humanity will go to in order to achieve an essentially arbitrary goal - even when it threatens their lives.

Overall, this was an odd book. The format is that of a textbook, but it's not really like a textbook at all. The subject matters jumps around dramatically even within a given chapter and it's often not clear what the rationale was for organizing this information. Most of the science around swimming was not clear to me, but that could have been due to my lack of knowledge or interest in the subject. Overall, I didn't mind reading this book and it might be of value to people who are in the professional swimming world or aspire to be. ( )
  Juva | Aug 21, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Wonderful Compendium of Swimming History & Techniques. Interesting reading for swimmers, coaches, sport historians. Open water and pool swimming history and training methods. Fascinating details on swimmers such as: Johnny Weissmuller, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Diana Nyad, Gunnar Larsson, and dozens more. Injury prevention, clothing, rule changes over the years are covered. Graphically pleasing and easy to read. Not necessary to read it from front to back, skip to different chapters depending on information desired. ( )
  Mmccullough | Aug 19, 2019 |
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