Former ABC News broadcast journalist Lynn Sherr loves to swim, and in this delightful paperback she shines a light on this exercise and sport. Here is a passage that illustrates her enthusiasm and passion for the subject:

"Swimming stretches my body beyond its earthly limits, helping to soothe every ache and caress every muscle. But it's also an inward journey, a time of quiet contemplation, when, encased in an element at once hostile and familiar, I find myself at peace, able — and eager — to flex my mind, imagine new possibilities, to work things out without the startling interruptions of human voice or modern life. The silence is stunning."

Sherr has gone swimming in countless international water holes, participated in endurance races, read up on the history of this activity from Egypt to the modern day Olympic competitions in pools, and found a treasure-trove of interesting facts, such as:

"• An estimated 51.9 million Americans swim at least six times each year — one in six of us — making it the third most popular sports activity after walking and working out.

"• We splash about in nearly 10.4 million residential pools and another 309,000 public pools across the country.

"• Except for the breaststroke, arms are more important than legs in swimming, providing up to 80% of power.

"• Best swim gear ever invented: goggles. Most annoying thing about swim gear: caps don't keep your hair dry."

Ben Franklin said that "the exercise of swimming is one of the most healthy and agreeable in the world," and the American Heart Association states that this sport is good for the heart. Keeping the momentum going, Sherr talks about the four different strokes to use in the water; she muses on close encounters of the aquatic kind; and she attends a swim training camp on the island of Curacao. We enjoyed the author's references to movies about swimming and her imaginative coverage of Esther Williams, the Aquacade megastar.