Leap In, my memoir 2017 about swimming is available now.
Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did.
It may have been because she could run. It may have been because she wanted to swim; or perhaps because she only ever did ten minutes of breaststroke at a time. But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t.
Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced at the fullest, she decided to conquer her fear of wild swimming.
From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming to Ithaca, Alexandra learned to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.
“A joy to read . . . another triumph for Heminsley, a champion of sport in the truest sense, and a wonderfully compassionate voice.” (Kat Brown, Daily Telegraph)
“Genuine and persuasive” (Guardian)
“This is a book that turns out to be about everything in life that cannot be calculated. Heminsley responds to life’s uncertainty by becoming decisive: “The grit was in the oyster now. It was the sea versus me…” It sets a remarkable example, and by the end it could not be more obvious: the true grit is not in the oyster but in Heminsley herself.” (Kate Kellaway, Observer)
“Alex Heminsley has the rare gift of being able to take a sport – running or swimming – that most of us find a bit daunting and fill the reader with enthusiasm for it. She comes to sport from the position of the ordinary person – and yet shows that it can change your life in an extraordinary way.” (Jojo Moyes)
“Masterful” (Irish Independent)
“Inspirational and thought-provoking, Leap In is the perfect accompaniment to your New Years Resolutions.” (The Pool)
“A great entry point to the sport, it’s also a searingly honest personal story as she finds solace in the water when faced with tricky times.” (Glamour)
“The ‘woman-versus-sea’ narrative makes the book a page-turner. Heminsley tackles head-on the uncomfortable truth that it’s hard for an adult to get rid of the fears of decades.” (Daily Mail)
“Leap In celebrates the glory of swimming.” (New Statesman)
“This is a candid and empowering book. I recommend it.” (Frost Magazine)