5 Books Every Swimmer Should Read

Photo Courtesy: Kaboompics.com

By Kelsey Mitchell, Swimming World College Intern.

Reading is a wonderful way to pass time during meets and between practices. Books can also offer swimmers tips to improve and better themselves both in and out of the pool. From compelling biographies to useful training tips, there’s a book for every swimmer! Here are five books to help you become a student of the best sport:

1. Gold in the Water: The True Story of Ordinary Men and Their Extraordinary Dream of Olympic Glory by P.H. Mullen


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Focusing on the Santa Clara Swim Club, this story follows the journeys of Tom Wilkens and Kurt Grote as they aim for the 2000 Olympics. Documenting their intense training regimens, this book highlights the sacrifices and victories they experience along the way. With a focus on the viewpoints of individual athletes, this story causes its readers to question the true meaning of success while also illustrating the lessons learned from failure. Gold in the Water is a great read that shows the intense and personal journeys of elite swimmers.

2. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry: A Memoir by Amanda Beard and Rebecca Paley

Amanda Beard

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

In the Water They Can’t See You Cry is a memoir documenting Amanda Beard’s struggle with clinical depression. After showing her rise to Olympic and modeling fame, the memoir goes on to show Beard’s toxic relationships, substance abuse, bulimia and self harm. Expertly hidden to the public eye, Beard’s struggle can be used to help its readers, showing that even some of the most successful people suffer from mental illness. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry illustrates Beard’s recovery process full of emotion and truth.

3. No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Written after his performance at the 2008 Olympics, No Limits shows the hard work Michael Phelps put in, both in and out of the pool. Despite setbacks in his youth, Phelps went on to become one of the most respected and successful athletes of all time. In this book, Phelps discusses the challenges he faced on his journey to Olympic success and how he overcame them. From having a positive mental attitude to believing in yourself and maintaining determination, No Limits is a great motivational read for any swimmer.

4. Swimming Fastest: The Essential Reference on Technique, Training and Program Design by Ernest Maglischo


Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / Mia Rossiya Segodnaya

Unlike the above mentioned books, Swimming Fastest is a monster-sized textbook focusing on technique and training. Featuring diagrams for stroke technique, this book is a great reference tool for those new and old to the sport. Swimming Fastest also provides tips for training with good technique, allowing for its readers to implement technique improvements in their daily workouts. Though it may not be great to read straight through, Swimming Fastest is an important reference for coaches and swimmers alike.

5. Mind Training For Swimmers by Craig Townsend


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Another reference book, Mind Training for Swimmers focuses more on the mental side of swimming than the physical. This book provides insight on swimming and thinking with a positive attitude. Full of points to lead you to a more positive mindset, Mind Training for Swimmers is a great tool to help one fully enjoy the sport, even when under stress. Great for the athletes who tend to psyche themselves out before racing, Mind Training for Swimmers offers helpful advice and tools to reach an unshakable mindset both in and out of the pool.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Claudia Tarr
5 years ago

Aaron Tarr

Mary Gursky
5 years ago

Yah , I wish ! Like kids read books ! ☹️ can’t get her off her dang phone ! ?

Jaroslaw Stachowicz
5 years ago

One book for one Olimpic circle!

5 years ago

The 50 Meter Jungle if you can find a copy by Sherm Chavoor.
A classic and a look back at Debbie Meyer and Mark Spitz.

Marijo Rodriguez
5 years ago

Ana Carmen Gonzalez!! tal vez te guste esto hahaha la verdad ni lo abrí pero me suena a que te puede interesar!! te quiero?

Leslie Cichocki
5 years ago

What about conquer the pool by Oliver Leroy? That’s my favorite one on having a positive mind set.

5 years ago

Hi Kelsey, You’re obviously brilliant. Thanks for the kind words on my book! – Mullen

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