SHORTLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
These days, swimming may seem like an egalitarian pastime, open to anyone with a swimsuit – but this wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century, swimming was almost exclusively the domain of men. Women were (barely) allowed to swim in the sea, but even into the 20th century they could be arrested if they dared dive into a lake. It wasn’t until the 1930s that women were reluctantly granted equal access. This is the story of the swimming suffragettes who made that possible; women who took on the status quo, and won.
Part social history, part memoir, Swell shines a light on these ‘swimming suffragettes’. It celebrates some amazing achievements, some ridiculous outfits and some fantastic swimmers who challenge the stereotypes of what women are capable of. It’s also the story of how Jenny eventually came to be a keen swimmer herself.
Swell is a joyful hymn to the sport and an exploration of why swimming attracts so many women. It is a book dedicated to our brilliant swimming foremothers who collectively made it possible for any woman to plunge in however and wherever we choose.