Sherr gets in the swim with history of aquatic frolic
SWIM: Why We Love the Water. By Lynn Sherr. Public Affairs. 232 pages. $26.
Our bodies are made up mostly of liquid; so is our planet. Perhaps this goes a long way toward explaining our affinity for water, even if we’re just floating around the pool with a cold beverage.
But water means something more vital to ABC correspondent and avid swimmer Lynn Sherr, author of “Swim.” It means peace. “Swim” is also lively and intriguing enough to refresh interest in the Olympic sport as well as make you consider adding laps to your regular exercise regimen.
Sherr traces the history of swimming for recreation and competition. She also addresses such topics as the swimming abilities of giraffes, how Ben Franklin may have invented windsurfing and the horror of trying on bathing suits under fluorescent lighting.
More, she reports on an impossibly romantic challenge she set for herself: swimming the Hellespont, the channel in western Turkey that separates Asia and Europe. Sherr did make it, and “Swim” recounts her triumph with good humor.
Sherr is pro-training, and she advises even casual swimmers to take a lesson or two to learn how to perfect a stroke (her specialty is the breaststroke). There are plenty of physiological reasons to swim, of course. It’s good for your heart and lungs, and it’s exercise that doesn’t stress your joints, which makes it a sport you can enjoy at 60 as well as at 6. But experts say the mental benefits are equally potent.
Reviewer Connie Ogle, a critic for The Miami Herald