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Swimming Pretty

Unabridged   11 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/25/2024

F O R T H C O M I N G ! Available June

Swimming Pretty

The Untold Story of Women in Water

Available from major retailers
Digital Download ISBN:9781696616300


From vaudeville tank shows to the Olympic arena, a groundbreaking history of how women found synchronicity—and power—in water.

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Product Description

"If you're not strong enough to swim fast, you're probably not strong enough to swim 'pretty,'" said a young Esther Williams to theater impresario Billy Rose. Since the nineteenth century, tensions between beauty and strength, aesthetics and athleticism have both impeded and propelled the careers of female swimmers—none more so than synchronized swimmers, for whom Williams is often considered godmother.

In this riveting history—the first of its kind—Vicki Valosik traces a century of aquatic performance, from vaudeville and dime museums to the Olympic arena. Williams, who became a Hollywood sensation for her splashy "aquamusicals," was just one in a long, bedazzled line of swimmers who began their careers as athletes but found greater opportunity, and often social acceptance, in the world of show business. Together, they not only laid the groundwork for synchronized swimming, but forever changed women's relationships with water.

Now, on the fortieth anniversary of synchronized swimming's elevation to Olympic status, Swimming Pretty finally honors the history of grit, glamour, and sheer athleticism of an utterly unique sport.

Author Bio

Vicki Valosik is a masters synchronized swimmer whose writing has appeared in publications such as the Atlantic, Smithsonian magazine, and Slate. She is an editorial director and teaches writing at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.