Unlike most other animals, humans have to be taught to swim, and yet many of us feel an irresistible pull to the water. There’s something about submerging ourselves that makes us feel very much alive—even as we enter an environment where the risk of death is suddenly all around us. (That’s why the lifeguard is watching.) In her new book, Why We Swim, journalist Bonnie Tsui explores how this unique sport rekindles the survival instincts we inherited from our ancestors, heals some of our deepest wounds, and connects us with a wider community even as we stroke silently alongside each other. In this episode, Tsui guides us through the remarkable tales of an Icelandic fisherman forced to swim for his life, an athlete who found new life by diving into the ocean, and a swim club that sprung up in the middle of a war zone.
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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.