In the meantime I have also read these two sublimely good novels by Jenifer Levin. I have never in my life read such good writing about swimming, but they are wonderful novels regardless of the swim component; perhaps I liked Water Dancer better of the two, as the world of marathon swimming is endlessly fascinating to me, but here is a paragraph (a description of the 100-meter breaststroke) from The Sea of Light that I would like to have shared with Wendy:
Spectator shouts roar to the high ceiling, an indistinguishable echo. In the bright-lit pool, bodies glide. This is the slowest stroke, the oldest stroke. It may appear to the observer to be a manifestation of perfect ease and grace, but from the inside when you do it all out, as perfectly and as fast as you can, when you do it to win then you look monstrous surging out of the water, a creature from some dark lagoon with foreign bug-goggle eyes. It wrenches every fiber of every muscle and it burns you all up with effort so that when you touch the wall to finish you have forgotten how to breathe, have forgotten everything but the naked agonized rasp in your empty lungs and heart. The 100 demands such complete control, so much raw strength. Yet the entire event will be finished in a little more than a minute. If you think about it, it seems unfair.