Open Water Swimming Books

Swimming, wild swimming, swim training, triathletes and more

A collection of informative and educational open water swimming books for you to read to on shore. Send us your suggestions.

All the book links on the page are affiliate links from which WOWSA receives a small commission from sales of certain items. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchses. Thank you for supporting WOWSA with you book purchases!

Open Water Swimming
by Steven Munatones

In Open Water Swimming, renowned marathon swimmer, coach, and commentator Steven Munatones shares his insights and expertise on preparing, training, and competing in open-water events.

Blueprint: Build a Bulletproof Body for Extreme Adventure in 365 Days
by Ross Edgley

From world-renowned adventurer and bestselling author of The Art of Resilience and The World’s Fittest Book, comes the ultimate blueprint to building a bulletproof body.

Why We Swim
by Bonnie Tsui

Why We Swim is an aquatic tour de force, a captivating story filled with adventure, meditation, and celebration

The Forever Swim
by Argüelles Antonio

Antonio Argüelles swam 35 kilometers from Northern Ireland to Scotland. When he arrived on the Scottish shore after a swim of nearly 14 hours through hypothermic currents wearing only a speedo, cap, and goggles, he became just the seventh person ever to conquer the Oceans Seven

Downriver Nomad: A Triathlete’s Adventures and Adversities into the Rapids
by Rob Hutchings
Triathlete and marathon swimmer, Rob Hutchings takes us on a whirlwind journey from triathlons and his first marathon swim in his home country of Canada, to Ironman competitions across the pond

Diving Back In: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Swimming
by Max Charles Munson

When a chance conversation at lunch leads former, age-group swimmer Max Munson back to the water, he rediscovers the benefits of swimming both in competition and for his own pleasure and satisfaction.

Ask Me Why I’m Stood Here: A Bristol Channel Swim Tale
by Alec Richardson
After 10 years of living with frequent discomfort and exhaustion from an unidentified condition, teamed with the struggles of balancing fatherhood and work alongside nagging doubts about his general place in the world, Alec Richardson found open water swimming.

I Found My Tribe: A Memoir
by Ruth Fitzmaurice

Ruth’s tribe are her lively children and her filmmaker and author husband Simon Fitzmaurice who has ALS and can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth’s other “tribe” are the friends who gather at the cove in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and regularly throw themselves into the freezing cold water, just for kicks.

How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
by Tristan Gooley

Read the sea like a Viking and interpret ponds like a Polynesian—with a little help from expert navigator Tristan Gooley, New York Times-bestselling author of The Secret World of Weather and The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

Did Not Sink: Misadventures in Running, Cycling and Swimming
by George Mahood

The lure of a gold-coloured silicon hat is enough to convince George to sign up once again to the Dart 10k swim. But to get the gold hat, he has to swim it twice.

Swimming For Triathlon And Open Water
by Paul Mason

Swimming for Triathlon and Open Water has the advice and tips you need to become more confident, more efficient and faster in the water.

Corazón de Mar
by Mariel Hawley
Al leer Corazon de Mar, mi admiraci6n por Mariel creci6 enormemente. Con sus experiencias en las distintas aguas del mundo nos comparte las exigencias del nado, tales como veneer el temor a los tiburones, bracear por horas a oscuras contra un oleaje alborotado o soportar los piquetes de las aguamalas; pero tambien deja ver su yo intimo, la busqueda de si misma.

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do
by Wallace J. Nichols and Céline Cousteau

In Blue Mind , Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.

My Magical Moments Journal
by John Scott

Journal to help people feel good because it’s easy to lose track of all the good with everything happening in the world and our hectic lives.

Strong Like Her: A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers, and Unstoppable Athletes
by Haley Shapley

Journalist Haley Shapley takes us through the delightful untold history of female strength to understand how we can better encourage—and celebrate—the physical power of women.

The Mindful Art of Wild Swimming: Reflections for Zen Seekers
by Tessa Wardley

The Mindful Art of Wild Swimming explores how swimming in rivers, lakes, and seas is the very epitome of conscious living.

Ein Mann des Meeres: André Wiersig erzählt sein Schwimmen durch die Ocean’s Seven
Erik Eggers (Author), Klaus Sander (Author), André Wiersig (Author, Narrator)

Out Of Comfort Zone: Cutting Edge Business Lessons Based on Sports Psychology from the Experience of an Extreme Swimmer
by Deniz Kayadelen

This book was written during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa. It documents the inspiring journey of an extreme swimmer

Swimming Studies
by Leanne Shapton

Swimming Studies is a collection of autobiographical sketches that explore the worlds of competitive and recreational swimming.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
by James Nestor

Drawing on thousands of years of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head.

The Little Book of Swimming Safely: Incomplete Advice for Wild Swimmers
by Sue Gyford

New to wild swimming and wondering how to stay safe? Old to wild swimming and wondering what’s been accidentally left out of this book? Fed up of hearing about wild swimming but in need of a present that looks like you care about it? All welcome.

Taking the Plunge: The Healing Power of Wild Swimming for Mind, Body & Soul
by Anna Deacon, Vicky Allan

Full of life-affirming personal stories and breath-taking images of scenery and swimmers, this bookcelebrates the remarkable wild swimming community.

Solo, Yet Never Alone: Swimming the Great Lakes
by Laura E. Young

Laura E. Young interviews over 40 swimmers, including extensive stories and new interviews with the iconic swimmers whose names we know, plus smaller reflections by the salt of the earth, the regular Canadians who also answered the challenge of swimming a Great Lake.

Wild Woman Swimming: A Journal of West Country Waters
by Lynne Roper

Longlisted for The Wainwright Prize 2019. The late Lynne Roper’s wild swimming diaries celebrate Dartmoor, the Devon coast, and the deep friendships that grow from shared time in nature. By turns quietly lyrical and frankly comic, this is a book for outdoor swimmers, walkers, and all who prize the wild and free.

Man vs Ocean – One Man’s Journey to Swim The World’s Toughest Oceans
by Adam Walker

He took on arguably the toughest extreme sport on the planet – to swim non-stop across seven of the world’s deadliest oceans wearing only swim trunks, cap and goggles

The Art of Resilience: Strategies for an Unbreakable Mind and Body
by Ross Edgley

From reading this book, the message that comes shining through is this: you can achieve

Swim Smooth: The Complete Coaching System for Swimmers and Triathletes
by Paul Newsome

Transform your technique in the water and become a better swimmer with this remarkable new approach to freestyle swimming

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer
by Lynne Cox

Most extraordinary distance swimmer writes about her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the almost mystical act of swimming itself.

Marathon Swimming The Sport of the Soul: Inspiring Stories of Passion, Faith, and Grit
by Paul Andrew Asmuth

Asmuth is one of the most successful marathon swimmers in history. In the sapphire seas off Italy, in the frigid lakes of Quebec, Canada,

21 Yaks and a Speedo – How to Achieve Your Impossible
by Lewis Pugh

A collection of beautifully-told short stories from Lewis Pugh – ocean advocate, pioneer swimmer, and inspirational speaker – about his expeditions and the lessons he learned along the way.

Shifting Currents: A World History of Swimming
by Karen Eva Carr

A deep dive into the history of aquatics that exposes centuries-old tensions of race, gender, and power at the root of many contemporary swimming controversies.

Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku
By David Davis

Waterman is the first comprehensive biography of Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968): swimmer, surfer, Olympic gold medalist, Hawaiian icon, waterman.

Crete Swim: An insider’s guide to sightseeing from the water
by Paul Kalas Ph.D.

Discover magical coastal swims at over 16 locations around the Greek island of Crete.

Swim Wild and Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 Days a Year
by Simon Griffiths

Outdoor swimming can be enjoyed by everyone and we can all experience the physical and mental benefits it offers.

Open Water Woman Swims Windermere: My marvellous midlife journey from surgery to swimming England’s largest lake
By Jacqui Hargrave

Open Water Woman Swims Windermere is the story of a middle aged woman who faces the challenge of swimming the length of England’s largest lake, after having surgery on both feet!

Out Of Comfort Zone: Cutting Edge Business Lessons Based on Sports Psychology from the Experience of an Extreme Swimmer
by Deniz Kayadelen

This book was written during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa. It documents the inspiring journey of an extreme swimmer

Continents Seven: Values for sports, business and life, learned around the world
by Diego López

As a sportsman, he is known as “Global Swimmer,” and recently became World Champion of his category at the “Ice KM”

Where The Crazy People Swim
by Steve Walker

Cold-water ultra-marathon swimming is about as tough as it gets.

Life is Worth Swimming
by Murray Rose

by Lynne Cox

Grayson is Lynne Cox’s first book since Swimming to Antarctica (“Riveting”—Sports Illustrated; “Pitch-perfect”—Outside).

by Roger Deakin

Roger Deakin set out in 1996 to swim through the British Isles.

Open Water Swimming: A Complete Guide for Swimmers and Triathletes
by Emma Davis

A Complete Guide for Swimmers and Triathletes is aimed at all levels of open water swimmer, from beginners right through to competing professionals

The Challenge of the English Channel: A Spiritual Approach to the Mount Everest of Swimming
by Adriano Passini

Swimmers will have to brave not only the elements, but also their inner demons and weaknesses.

With Each Stroke: The Endless Blue
by Antonio Argüelles

Swimming is a sort of shared solitude. And when it comes to swimming the English Channel, the endless blue becomes the sum of fears, aspirations and dreams.

Water Days: Swimming the English Channel
by Mariel Hawley

Mariel’s dedication, discipline and love for swimming are reflected in her achievements

A History of Marathon Swimming
by Joe Grossman

From Matthew Webb to Gertrude Ederle, from Wrigley’s Catalina to Juan de Fuca, from Billy Butlin’s English Channel races to the Canadian Expo, Joe Grossman has captured the history of marathon swimming.

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

Dive deep into the world of swimming with open water swimmer and coach Mikael Rosén

Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide for Triathletes and Open Water Swimmers
by Lynne Cox

Lynne Cox has set open water swimming records across the world, and now she has focused her decades-long experience and expertise into this definitive guide to swimming.

Eight Simple Swimmingly Tips on How to Successfully Swim Across the English Channel
by Danielle Wahl MA

Thinking about or planning to swim across the English Channel?

In the Wake of Mercedes Gleitze: Open Water Swimming Pioneer
by Doloranda Pember

In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze became the first British woman to swim the English Channel

One Stroke at a Time: Open water swimmers share their stories of determination, resilience and passion
by Sue Ochse

This book features the accounts of 33 open water swimmers: their highs and lows, their successes and failures.

Marathon Swimming – From The Pools To Open Water: The Definitive Guide To Training For Swimmers And Triathletes
By Diogo Zoppi

How to start in the sport and how to make the transition from trainings in pools to open water

Oceans Seven: How I cheated death and broke the hardest record in swimming
by Attila Mányoki

Attila Mányoki made it his life’s mission to complete the Oceans Seven – and break the world record while doing so.

Splash!: 10,000 Years of Swimming
by Howard Means

From man’s first recorded dip into what’s now the driest spot on earth to the splashing, sparkling pool party in your backyard, humans have been getting wet for 10,000 years

Open Water Swimming: Lessons from Alcatraz
by Joseph Oakes and Gary Emich

If you need to swim Alcatraz

Let’s do something different!: An open water swimming journey
by Graeme Schlachter

This is a journey through the wonderful world of endurance swimming

Just Try One More
by Penny Lee Dean

This is an autobiography of the challenging life of open water swimming champion, Penny Lee Dean.

Waterlog: A Swimmers Journey Through Britain
by Roger Deakin

A masterpiece of nature writing, Roger Deakin’s Waterlog is a fascinating and inspiring journey into the aquatic world that surrounds us.

Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves, and the Will to Swim
by Alexandra Heminsley

Memoir of learning how to swim the front crawl, as well as a bit of a general

Swimming in the Sink: A Memoir
by Lynne Cox

From inspired and inspiring open-water swimmer and supreme athlete, able to endure cold water temperatures that would kill other

Keep Calm and Swim to France: Tales of an English Channel Swimmer
by Mark Ransom

Mark Ransom made a drunken pact with one of them that they would swim the English Channel

Triathlon Swimming: Master Open-Water Swimming with the Tower 26 Method
by Gerry Rodrigues and Emma-Kate Lidbury

Over his lifetime of over 100 open-water swim race wins and over 30 years of coaching

In Cold Water
by Mike Humphreys

Immerses the reader in the challenges, sights, sounds, triumphs and disappointments of swimming the English Channel

Swim Wild
by Jack Hudson

Brothers Jack, Calum and Robbie have been swimming together their whole lives

The Great Swim
by Gavin Mortimer.

In the summer of 1926, four American women race to be the first female to swim across the English Channel.

America’s Girl: The Incredible Story of How Swimmer Gertrude Ederle Changed the Nation
by Tim Dahlberg.

This well-researched biography traces Gertrude’s development as a competitive swimmer and pioneering channel swimmers.

Nothing Great is Easy
by Des Renford with Ian Heads.

An engaging autobiography that covers an amazingly colorful life of an accomplished marathon swimmer who retired as the King of the Channel with 19 crossings (19 attempts and 19 successes).

Wind, Waves, and Sunburn: A Brief History of Marathon Swimming
by Conrad Wennerberg.

Considered to be one of the most authoritative accounts of top channel swimmers throughout history and professional marathon swimmers focusing on the stars from the 1950’s to 1970’s.

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer
by Lynne Cox.

A classic, colorfully descriptive sports memoir of arguably one of history’s greatest swimming adventurers.

History of Open-Water Marathon Swimming
by Capt. Tim Johnson.

An extraordinarily detailed historical of marathon swims and swimmers from dozens of countries.

Young Woman and the Sea – How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World
by Glenn Stout

A historical perspective of the first crossing of the English Channel by a woman.

Triathlon Swimming Made Easy – The Total Immersion Way for Anyone to Master Open-Water Swimming
by Terry Laughlin

Words of wisdom from a masterful stroke technique and popular speaker aimed at triathletes to help make swimming the best part of their triathlon.

Ultra Swimming
by Claudia B. Manley

A description of the history of the sport together with safety considerations and physical and mental training, and training tips.

The Crossing: The Curious Story of the First Man to Swim the English Channel
by Kathy Watson

A moving pop biography of the first man to swim the English Channel, by former BBC radio producer Watson

Dangerous When Wet – The Shelley Taylor-Smith Story
by Shelley Taylor-Smith and Ian Cockerill

The entertaining and educational autobiography of the Australian world champion swimmer with seven consecutive world titles and several head-to-head victories over the best men in the sport.

Alone On A Wide Wide Sea
by Robert McCormack

Experienced ocean swimmer tells about his six most exciting swims.

Dover Solo
by Marcia Cleveland

The story of an American woman’s incredible journey of discovery, preparation and training for her English Channel crossing.

The Man Who Swam the Amazon – 3274 Miles on the World’s Deadliest River
by Matthew Mohlke

A gripping and inspirational story of the perseverance and passion of Martin Strel’s solo stage swim down the Amazon.

Open Water Swimming
by Penny Lee Dean

An authoritative how-to book on drills, techniques, training methodologies and insight from the former English Channel record holder.

Marilyn Bell: The Heart-Stopping Tale of Marilyn’s Record-Breaking Swim
by Patrick Tivy

Describes Marilyn Bell’s swim across Lake Ontario.

Sage Island
by Samantha Warwick

Novelization of the 1927 Wrigley Marathon Ocean Swim across the Catalina Channel as told through the eyes of a swimmer trapped in the shadow of Gertrude Ederle.

Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes
by Monique Ryan

With a chapter for marathon swimmers.

Nine Ways to Cross a River, Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here
by Akiko Busch

About her swim across the Hudson River in 2001.

Haunts of the Black Masseur, The Swimmer as a Hero
by Charles Sprawson

Explores the heart and mind of an open water swimmer.

Find a Way
by Diana Nyad

In this comprehensive autobiography, Nyad offers a fascinating glimpse into her life

Wild Swim
by Kate Rew

Waxes poetically about open water swimming with a magicial, lyrical ability to colorfully describe the beauty of the open water.

Fearless Swimming for Triathletes: Improve Your Open Water Skills
by Ingrid Loos Miller

Are you afraid of mass swim starts, being pummeled by surf, eaten by sharks and swimming blindly off-course

Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer
By Annaleise Carr

Over eight months of planning, hundreds of hours of hard physical training, amassing a team of dedicated crewmates, approaching sponsors and collecting donations–and, finally, swimming for twenty-seven hours across the cold, rough waters of Lake Ontario.

Blonde In Deep Water: Brenda Fisher: The Story of a Channel Swimmer
by Lucy Wood

In 1951, Brenda Fisher, a young secretary and trawlerman’s daughter, swam the English Channel in just over 12 hours – becoming the fastest woman in history to do so

ESCORT (kayaking/safe swimming)
by Beth Barnes

Helping others fulfill a dream and being on the open water

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea
by Jaimal Yogis

Fed up with teenage life in the suburbs, Jaimal Yogis ran off to Hawaii with little more than a copy of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha and enough cash for a surfboard.

Erica from America: Swimming from Europe to Africa
by Erica L Moffett

Swimming from Europe to Africa tells the story of Erica, who, as a child grew up wanting to do everything, and later decided to swim the Strait of Gibraltar

Near-Death Experiences While Drowning: Dying Is Not the End of Consciousness!
by Prof J. M. Holden Ed.D.

“I could see, floating in the air, the lifeguards attempting to resuscitate a lifeless body; it was mine.”

Swim: Why We Love the Water
by Lynn Sherr

Swim is a celebration of swimming and the effect it has on our lives.

Wider Than A Mile
by Mimi Hughes

The cold, the fear, the pain is irrelevant. For the next eighty-nine days everything must be about moving forward.

Where Mountains Come to Swim: A journey into the mind of a man training to swim across the Sea of Cortez
by Paul Lundgren

In Where Mountains Come to Swim Paul shares the challenges he faced during his attempts to swim across the Sea of Cortez

The Open Water Swimmer
by Sabrina Devonshire

When children’s mystery writer Dana Thomas has recurring nightmares about a swimmer drowning in a race, she aims to change his fate.

Swell: A Year of Waves (Ocean Coffee Table Book)
by Evan Slater

Wave watchers around the world know that no two waves are the same. Yet each and every wave that rises, peaks, and crashes onto the beach is generated by a much larger force originating thousands of miles away.

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves
by James Nestor

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • An Amazon Best Science Book of 2014

The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun
by Sister Madonna Buder

SISTER MADONNA BUDER is 80 years old, has run more than 340 triathlons, and doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

WOWSA News on Open Water Swimming Podcasts