I read a lot. More than I swim. So I’m going to add a few reviews of some books closely, loosely or tangentially related to Swimming, and Open Water.
There are a few obvious starting places but I’ll go with:
Open Water Swimming by Penny Lee Dean.
Penny Lee Dean is a former record holder for the English Channel amongst many other swims, Open Water Coach, sports professor and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Her book Open water Swimming remains the only current book on Open Water swimming.
It’s a few years since I read it so I had a quick revisit of it last night. It is intended for both triathletes and Open Water Swimmers and obviously there are far more triathletes than Open Water Swimmers, so it’s not too surprising that occasionally it focuses more on those. Maybe the tri-athlete though will feel it focuses too much on long distance.
Last time I read it I had much less Open Water experience. I recalled how much it seemed to me like a collection of magazine articles. I think that still holds true but it’s not a bad thing. It’s easy to dip into various sections, and the progression of topics covered is logical from the lure and safety of Open Water through equipment, navigation, technique and physical and mental training. There are many
I’d like to see some sections expanded, perhaps a more lyrical expositition of Open Water itself, as someone who loves OW and understands both the lure and the many differences of Open Water to pool. Her section on injuries is very brief, and her re-mediation suggestions are one sentence. All accurate but hardly explained, especially given the very common experience of shoulder problems for swimmers in general and non- swimming-club affiliated swimmers in particular like myself when I started.
The Training sections are good, especially helpful for tri-athletes I’d imagine. The section on technique of course is necessarily brief as the subject is and covered in many books, the definitive of which I’ll cover in the future.
From an Irish point, it’s funny to read her chart on water temperatures. The lowest she covers is 10 Celsius!
For an beginner or new Open Water Swimmer though (not necessarily a new swimmer), though overall it’s a good book, but it’s not a complete work, that is, just reading this alone won’t be sufficient.