STARRED REVIEW
September 2016

Beyond treading water

By Lynne Cox
Review by
Swimming in the Sink is a comeback tale told straight from the heart—the big, intrepid heart belonging to Lynne Cox. In refreshingly candid style, the legendary open-water swimmer details her many achievements and sets the stage for her greatest challenge. From setting a world record crossing the English Channel (at the age of 15) to swimming in Arctic waters without a wetsuit, she swims with a purpose, whether promoting peace between Argentina and Chile or calling attention to environmental concerns. In 1987, her swim across the frigid Bering Strait helped to ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.
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Swimming in the Sink is a comeback tale told straight from the heart—the big, intrepid heart belonging to Lynne Cox. In refreshingly candid style, the legendary open-water swimmer details her many achievements and sets the stage for her greatest challenge. From setting a world record crossing the English Channel (at the age of 15) to swimming in Arctic waters without a wetsuit, she swims with a purpose, whether promoting peace between Argentina and Chile or calling attention to environmental concerns. In 1987, her swim across the frigid Bering Strait helped to ease Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. 

As an elite athlete with a unique ability to acclimatize to cold, Cox also participated in scientific research studying the body’s response to extreme cold, helping to refine surgical and emergency treatment for cold-related traumas. When it came to recovering from the deaths of her beloved elderly parents, however, Cox found herself suddenly helpless, gravely ill and frightened by her damaged heart. Its fitting diagnosis: broken heart syndrome. Medications for atrial fibrillation, along with exercise and dietary restrictions, reshaped everything she knew about her body. Her swimming life seemingly over, Cox despaired: “I did not know what I was. I didn’t like the way I was. I didn’t like what was happening to me.”

With the help of good friends and caring physicians, she uses the mind-body connection to lower her heartbeat and restore proper breathing. She tries to swim again—beginning, improbably, in her kitchen sink. Mindfulness and positive thinking, added to her athletic grit, help Cox learn what it takes to swim—and love—all over again.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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