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OWS Resources: Books and More



My Favorite Non-Fiction Books About OWS!

  • Cold is Just a State of Mind - by The Notorious Alki Swimmers, compiled by Paige Nuzzolillo

    • 31 swimmers who swim regularly at Alki Beach in Seattle, WA answer the question "why do you swim (at Alki)?" This book is full of stunning sea life photography from the swimmer archives and stories about why cold water swimming in the wild Puget Sound has changed their lives. NOTE - I am not making a profit off of this book. The mission of this book was to simply spread the joy of OWS!

  • Why We Swim - New York Times bestseller by Bonnie Tsui 

    • This book dives deep into the reasons why we swim as humans and what it does for us mentally, emotionally and physically. The prose is gorgeous and it's filled with loads of interesting stories about swimmers around the world. ​

  • Taking the Plunge: The Healing Power of Wild Swimming for Mind, Body and Soul - by Anna Deacon and Vicky Allan 

    • This book is so beautiful! It started as a photography endeavor, and you can tell. The photographs in this book make it an excellent conversation starter/coffee table book. It is perfect for someone new to OWS. It's essentially an ethnography of wild swimmers, full of direct quotes by swimmers mostly in the UK about why they swim and what it gives them. 

  • Swimming to Antartica - by Lynne Cox 

    • Lynne Cox, marathon swimmer and ice miler, wrote this autobiography about her experience swimming. If you don't know about Lynne Cox, check this book out! You'll be amazed at her swimming feats. She swam 5 miles in the Bering Strait in 38 degree water without a wetsuit! And a mile in Antartica!

Films & Video

Short films, lectures and full-length films!

  • Body of Water

    • DryRobe and Swim Feral sponsored this gorgeous film about Scottish ice swimmer Gilly McArthur. Gilly tells her open water swimming story and answers the question of why she swims throughout the film, shot in stunning locations around Scotland. She talks of moving through grief, pain and loss and how ice swimming is the ultimate meditation. This film pairs wonderfully with reading my favorite into to wild swimming, Taking the Pluge - Gilly is mentioned many times throughout it. 

  • FishPeople by Patagonia

    • This beautiful short 50-minute film chronicles the lives of six people transformed by the water. A spearfisher, surfer, water photographer, and an open water swimmer are featured. Lynne Cox is the open water swimmer that is profiled!

  • Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story

    • A true story of an amazing feat of human perseverance! I loved this film and totally cried when the coach encouraged 16-year-old Marilyn Bell to keep going at the hardest part of her 32 (+10 extra miles) swim across Lake Ontario in 1954. Marilyn was new to long distance swimming and people doubted her - she was the first ever to accomplish this swim. Afterwards, Marilyn ended up going onto swim the English Channel as the youngest person to complete it at the time, and later swam the Strait of Juan de Fuca a year later. Plus, the 1950s swim fashion in this film is perfect!

  • My Big White Thighs

    • I loved this short film by a woman in the UK who experienced major grief in a short period of time and vowed to swim in a different place every month for a year; this is a story of her healing through embracing wild swimming.

  • Kim Swims

    • Kim Swims is a full-length film that chronicles the incredible 30-mile swim of Kim Chambers from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco Bay. Kim was the first person to do the swim. The Farallons are known to be a location where the world's biggest great white sharks hang out regularly. She even started the swim in the Farallons at night! 

  • South End Rowing Club Hypothermia Lecture

    • This super informative 20-minute lecture from the South End Rowing Club (SF) is by a former paramedic. She explains what happens to your body during vasoconstriction, how to properly warm up after being in cold water, and what to look for as signs of hypothermia. 

  • Calum MacLean Outdoor Swimming

    • Calum is a hilarious Scottish wild swimmer. Watch his short, viral videos to get a good laugh. 

  • The Science of Diana Nyad's Swim from Cuba to Florida

    • This short film explains the science and team behind Diana Nyad's successful (and controversial) eventual swim from Cuba to Florida. The work that went into making this swim happen is incredible - from scientists with shark radar to jellyfish mask creators. 

  • The Superhuman World of Wim Hof - The Iceman

    • Wim Hof teaches the "Wim Hof Method," a combination of breathing/yoga and cold water training which allows the body to withstand extreme stress and prevent illness. He wrote a book too, I am yet to read it! 

  • My Octopus Teacher

    • This film is the story of a man who visits an octopus every day for a year while freediving in his home in South Africa. It is a stunning film in both storytelling and underwater cinematography. 

  • Given 

    • Told from the perspective of a 6 year old boy of a famous traveling surfing family, this film isn't about swimming as much as about spreading the love for the sea. I cried many times during this film. This is one of my favorite movies. 


Shops, Charters Lessons

& Blogs 

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