The Complete Book of Swimming

Finding Fitness
For a good while now, I’ve been on the lookout for books that define the health benefits of swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise.  I’ve largely come up empty, with only a couple of worthy exceptions.   It’s been important to me for two reasons:  First, I’m convinced (as others in this magazine have argued) that the watershaping industry is doing both itself and its clients a disservice by not promoting the remarkable healthfulness of aquatic activity.  I think this is a deficit we desperately need to address – and also that this effort must begin on a solid base of knowledge and fact.  Second, as I progress through my forties, I’m finding that running is becoming more and more difficult because of hip problems; my intention is to turn to the water to maintain my physical fitness, but I want to know more about it and how to do it right. So far, the best resource for information about swimming I’ve found is The Complete Book of Swimming by Dr. Phillip Whitten (Random House, 1994).  It’s older than some other volumes I’ve found, but I think it’s the best because