Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui Book Review

Why We Swim

I was walking around a local bookshop in Nashville when I came across this book, Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui. I immediately snatched it up and took it to the register for purchase. Feeling totally obsessed with the water, I thought it may shed light on why I’m obsessed.

Why We Swim

The book captured my attention. I couldn’t read it all in one sitting because there was so much invaluable information in it that I wanted to absorb. Why We Swim is a book that takes the reader around the globe to various places and we learn about different swimmers and their experiences. The author intertwines her life and her experiences in the book along with people she interviews for the book.

Bonnie Tsui grew up in Freeport, Long Island (right down the road from my home) and then moved to the Bay area. The author decides to swim alongside the Dolphins in the San Francisco Bay. She quickly learns that by not wearing a wetsuit in 50 or under degree waters, there is a true health benefit. She writes:

“The pressure of water itself on your body plays a part in swimming for health. When you immerse yourself in water, it pushed blood away from the extremities and toward your heart and lungs; this temporarily elevates your blood pressure and makes your heart and lungs work harder.”

Quotes resonated with me

Throughout Why We Swim, Bonnie Tsui interviews various swimmers, and some of their quotations really resonated with me. For example, “Water helps the body remember that life and time are fluid” and, “Swimming is the one that quite literally takes us out of our element.”

History of Swimming

Did you know that in 1896, during the Olympic games, four countries sent swimmers to compete? Those countries included Hungary, Greece, Austria, and the USA. She also talks about a court stenographer, Charlotte “Eppie” Epstein who founded the Women’s Swimming Association. She did this in a time when women weren’t supposed to participate in strenuous activity.

What did I think?

Bonnie Tsui, who is a journalist and author, is an outstanding writer. Her book captivated me and kept my interest in learning more. If you love to swim, I would highly recommend buying this book.