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Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim, by Alexandra Heminsley

Review by Anita Campbell

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    Breathing, Other Thoughts, Press, Product Review
27-Feb-2017 /  written by Anita
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Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim, by Alexandra Heminsley
“ Alexandra exposes her anguish and the growing realisation that she can overcome her fear. She details the minutiae of practical concerns along the way, the comical wetsuit scene to name but one. "

I somehow knew I would like Alexandra Heminsley’s new autobiographical work about wild swimming, ‘Leap In’.  The extent of this feeling grew over the three sittings it took to read it, with repetitions in my head of ‘I know what you mean, ’ ‘I know what you mean’, which may have eventually got on her nerves had she actually been with me. However, as I am also an open water swimmer who feels fear when my face goes under into the deep unknown, her process of unfolding and examining that fear was a joy to behold.  A cliché I know but I felt like I was there every step of the way. 

I knew about the importance of breath work and trusting the water from my friends and swimming teachers Ian and Cheryl Cross (Swimming Without Stress).  This book reinforced the life affirming importance of breath! Alexandra exposes her anguish and the growing realisation that she can overcome her fear and details the minutiae of practical concerns along the way, the comical wetsuit scene to name but one.  Highlighted too is the fact that life doesn’t just stop because one is working on one’s fears and she writes with poignancy about going through IVF (failing to stop myself saying I know what she means again!’).

Alexandra describes learning a new skill as an adult as like noticing and opening a door to find an extra room that you never knew you had. All I can say is that after reading ‘Leap In’  I was engaged in an enjoyable internet trail searching for wild swimming courses, Lake District swimming and new goggles!  Even if opening the door to open water swimming is not your thing, this journey inspires us to face the fears that stop us doing what we know we would love.  It just kick started me into what I already knew, life is short, get out there girl! 

Anita Campbell
Amateur runner and swimmer and constant journeyer to face my fears.

Member of the Almost Book Group which now has at least one other member keen to start wild swimming,  after reading Leap In. 

Also see:  Getting Somewhere -Strel holiday



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