When I am not working, in class or training, I can usually be found reading. Truth be told, I am a book worm at heart. While I often find myself reading research articles related to the sports I partake in, it’s very rare that I read an entire book that focuses in and around them. However, in merely passing Leanne Shapton’s ‘Swimming Studies’ in a local book store window on the way to class, I had to stop and throw myself into it.
In short, ‘Swimming Studies’ explores the world of competitive swimming as well as the ebbs and flows that naturally ensue when forging a career as an artist. Even though at a glance they seem quite dissimilar, Shapton finds a way to brilliantly correlate both swimming and art by weaving them through their shared core components: practice, persistence and patience. Having grown up an Olympic hopeful and having made it all the way to the Olympic trials in adulthood, Shapton could not shake her love for pools and has spent many years traveling to and exploring as many as she possibly could around the world. Scattered throughout ‘Swimming Studies’ are vividly colored, abstract illustrations of Shapton’s most cherished swimming memories. These illustrations coincide nicely with the underlying focus on the finer components of athletic pursuit, rather than its medals and trophies. For the dedicated aspiring athlete, who practices day in and out, this remarkable and painterly reflection of years spent in and around will seem very familiar.
The discipline Shapton learned throughout her competitive years were not however in vein, as she used every ounce of what she learned in the pool throughout her adult life, eventually making her name as both an artist and an author. Overall, ‘Swimming Studies’ is an inspiring journey that explores one of the many ways all those hours in the pool come in handy later in life.
That being said, this begs the question: How have you used your years in the pool to benefit you later in life?
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