Lisa Bier wrote Fighting the Current: The Rise of American Women’s Swimming, 1870-1926 where she covers the early years of women’s swimming, with open water swims going back to the 1870’s, up to Gertrude Ederle’s 1926 Channel swim.

A review by Jessica Kenty-Drane describes Fighting the Current as a riveting tale of American women fighting to secure their rightful lane in the swimming pool. “[Lisa Bier] describes the waste along America’s shores, particularly in its cities, and the general environmental degradation of the coasts. Indeed early swimmers played an important role in the environmental movement to clean and protect our oceans and harbors as the desire to swim spread up and down the coast.

Their work also resulted in local investments in year round swimming pools with safe, clean water.

The greatest reward in this book comes from reading the gripping stories of the women athletes who battled their communities and sometimes families to swim competitively. These chronicles of numerous swimmers (e.g. Kate Bennett, Katie Allen, Ethel and Elaine Golding, Florence West, Annette Kellerman, Augusta Gallop, Clara Hurst, Adeline Trapp, Elaine Golding, Rose Pitonof, Katherine Mehtrtens, Charlotte Epstein, Charlotte Boyle, Aileen Riggin, Helen Wainwright, Helen Meany, and Gertrude Ederle) lives as athletes, competitors, and/or swim league instructors and administrators, are truly compelling in their own right. It is with lively story telling that Bier propels the role of the individual athletes to the center of the account of how women came to be liberated to swim safely and competitively in the United States and internationally. These tales build up to the triumphant English Channel crossing by Gertrude Ederle in 1926.

With enough plot twists and turns for a mystery novel, Bier documents women as true competitors and athletes.”

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Swimming