By Lukie Marriott

While the pools and beaches are closed for swimming, splash around with these books and movies that have swimming themes. This list focuses primarily on material that's available electronically.

  • Welcome


    From Film Movement, this moving story is about a Kurdish refugee trying to reach England, where his girlfriend lives. Apprehended in Calais, he meets former swimming champion Simon, who begins training Bilal, unaware at first that Bilal intends to swim the channel.

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  • The Swimmer


    Materialism and self-deception never saw finer form (literally) than in the figure of Burt Lancaster in this 1968 film. Although not available for streaming through the library, it is on Amazon and other platforms.

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  • H2O: Just Add Water. Season 1


    This Australian hit features three girls who morph into mermaids every time they touch water. Drama and humor blend for when you're in the mood for some light entertainment.

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  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

    2008 by Jackson, Joshilyn

    Laurel's picture perfect suburban life is upended when her daughter's best friend is found drowned in their pool. Revelations about her guarded past, her marriage, and the girl in the pool will change Laurel's life.

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  • The Deep

    2019 by Solomon, Rivers

    In this sci-fi novel, water-breathing descendants of African slave women who were thrown overboard have built their own underwater society. Their traumatic past is forgotten by everyone except the historian, Yetu. Her memories, terrible and miraculous, are destroying her, so she flees to the surface to try to reclaim her people's identity.

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  • Why We Swim

    2020 by Tsui, Bonnie

    In this combination of memoir, adventure, history, science, and love letter to swimming, Tsui explores the human connection to water the world over. Described by critics as beautifully written, the book itself is an immersive experience that is not just for swimmers.

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  • Coming up for Air

    2017 by Kenneally, Miranda

    Maggie and Levi, high school seniors training for the Olympics, progress from friends to more in this young adult novel. How much is Maggie willing to sacrifice in the pool for love?

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  • Grayson

    2006 by Cox, Lynne

    When long distance swimmer Lynne Cox was 17, she was just completing her open water work-out when she was approached by an 18-foot long baby gray whale. Cox stayed in the 55 degree water, exhausted and freezing, determined to help the whale find its mother and keep it from becoming stranded by shore. Not available as an eBook, but I had to include this incredible true story. Also by Cox, Swimming to Antarctica, which puts swimming in a whole other category.

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  • Swimming Lessons

    2017 by Monroe, Mary Alice

    I'll be honest. Like most novels set at the beach, I don't think there's much actual swimming in this one. The protagonist's passion is saving sea turtles, though, so at least you'll get to read about the turtles swimming.

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  • Swimming Upstream


    This is the true story of Australian Tony Fingleton, who became a champion swimmer in order to gain his father's notice and respect. Jesse Spencer, Geoffrey Rush, and Judy Davis star. Available for streaming on Netflix.

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  • This Is the Water: A Novel

    2014 by Murphy, Yannick

    Bear with the narrative style of this short novel and you will be greatly rewarded. A literary psychological thriller, the reader knows the identity of the serial killer preying on the children at swim practice, as their parents sit in the bleachers concerned about other things. This book has one of the most intense climaxes I've ever read.

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  • Swimming

    2012 by Hardman, Lizabeth

    Finally, maybe you'd just like some instruction before diving in. While the library's got a lot of books and some DVDs on how to swim, this is an eBook you can access from home.

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