Leap In by Alexandria Heminsley
Alexandria Heminsley recounts her story of becoming a year round, open water swimmer in this lovely little book. She writes conversationally, like you are sitting down with a girlfriend over a glass of pinot gris.
I spent a swelteringly hot afternoon reading this, and finished it in a few hours. I initially ordered it because, having lived by the sea for a couple of years, I was thinking about getting some swimming lessons and swimming in the ocean. I had ordered and read Running Like a Girl a few years ago when I had to publically weigh myself in and didn’t have a gym (which I had previously relied on to keep me active) anywhere nearby to join. I found Heminsley so relatable and so reassuring that I managed to take up running, loved it, completed the City 2 Surf, and then damaged my Achilles tendon so bad that I can’t walk very well in the mornings. But i seriously loved that book, and was looking forward to a new Heminsley story.
But back to swimming.
Heminsley is newly married in this chapter of her life, and still running. However, living by the sea is calling her, and she decides, on a whim, to ‘leap in’ to the ocean one day. This leads to excitement, big plans, fear and determination. Heminsley gets swimming lessons, life lessons and shares with the reader her understanding of her body. Wodnerfully, it doesn’t read as an Instagram body positivity post. It reads as a meditation, something that with a good exhale, you can slowly work into your own life and mindset.
As well as conversationally, Heminsley also writes with good humour, beautiful descriptions and proper throat-choking-tear-inducing beauty. Her short lines on IVF and her relationship with her body were so wonderfully evocative, they had me crying and smiling at the same time. Her anecdote about the first time she tried to pull on a wetsuit was so familiar to me I was groaning aloud, before dissolving into giggles.
I miss running for the headspace it gave me. After reading Heminsley work through her fears, breathlessness and some very deep water, I feel like anything I worry about can be dealt with. I really enjoyed this. And as all books about physical activity do, it made me want to get up and go for a swim!