"Swim For Life"
by Greg Whyte
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 9th March 2011Greg Whyte is a former Olympic pentathlete turned sports scientist (possibly most famous in the UK for coaching comedian David Walliams on his Channel swim for Sports Relief in 2006) and his book "Swim for Life" aims to cover all aspects of swimming, from first-timers through to experienced fitness and competitive swimmers. As well as tips on equipment, technique, nutrition, and after-swim care, it also has advice on setting goals and monitoring progress to stay motivated, along with training plans and land-based exercises to complement pool work.
It's certainly a very attractive book with plenty of inviting colour photos, but these disguise the fact that many of the chapters are rather slim and lack detail. I suspect that the emphasis on fitness swimming won't be of much interest to purely recreational swimmers, while those with more experience might find there's insufficient depth in many sections (somewhat ironically, the most detailed chapter is the one on land work). I also found the explanations of the four major strokes very confusing, with the pictures not clearly related to the text and further complicated by the use of some overly technical language.
That aside there is still some interesting material in here. The concept of "swim volume" (a combination of the frequency, intensity and length of your swimming sessions) as a way of monitoring your swimming was new to me, and clearly presented. Also the advice on tumble turns and basic diving is refreshingly novel, and the inclusion of a chapter on outdoor swimming is topical. So while by no means essential, for someone like me (half recreational, half fitness swimmer but with no competitive ambitions) there might still be some value in this book.