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Extended Audio Sample Swimming: A Novel, by Nicola Keegan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (680 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nicola Keegan Narrator: Aya Cash Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A ferociously original novel, sparkling with wit and blazing with emotion, from a gifted new novelist.

A spectacular debut about the rise of an Olympic champion—a novel about competition, obsession, the hunger for victory, and a young girl with an unsinkable spirit struggling to stay afloat in the only way she can.

When we first meet Pip, the extraordinary heroine of Nicola Keegan’s first novel, she is landlocked in a small town in the center of Kansas, literally swimming for her life. Pip is tall and flat and smart and funny and supernaturally buoyant. On land, she has her share of troubles: an agoraphobic mother, a lost father, a drug-addled sister, and a Catholic education dominated by a group of high-energy nuns. But in the water, Pip is unstoppable. In the water, her suffering and rage are transmuted into grace and speed and beauty.

Swimming is the story of Pip’s journey from a small Midwestern swim team to her first state meet, her brutal professional training, and the final, record-breaking swims that lead to her dizzying ascent to the Olympic podium in Barcelona. It’s the story of a girl who discovers, in the loneliness of adolescence, in the family tragedies that threaten to engulf her, the resilience of the human spirit and the spectacular power of her own body.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I loved Swimming. It’s the most original novel I’ve read all year. I can’t get Pip’s voice out of my mind.” 

    Judy Blume

  • “Ravishing…[Keegan’s] less interested in anatomizing championship swimming than in surveying the emotional landscape of her singular participant, which she maps with gorgeous technique and a life-giving quotient of snark.” 

    New York Times

  • “Deadpan hilarious…fun and imaginative…An ambitious and exhilarating novel about a girl for whom swimming is as vital as breathing…The muscular energy of Keegan’s prose…works in bursts—short, punchy clauses and chapters—and Pip’s voice is wryly comic, even when events turn tragic.” 


  • “You don’t have to be a swimmer to respond to this story; you don’t even have to be into sports (heck, I spent all of high school PE hiding in the marching band and I loved this book)…[the] tension between exuberance and despair is what gives this novel such reckless buoyancy…Completely absorbing…The book delivers some knockout scenes at the Olympics, enriched by Pip’s quirky humor about her competitors and the media’s inanity.” 

    Washington Post

  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Caitlyn | 2/20/2014

    " The book was well-written for what it was but it is very odd. The story parts were as disjointed as the main character. Clearly the point and a process that gave the character a really crazy persona. The problem is I tend to like books that have a flow, especially if I am listening to the on audiobook as I was with this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Erin | 2/1/2014

    " I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book. Then . . . .I don't know what happened. I just thought it started wandering aimlessly and never really came back. It's too bad because up until then I was loving this story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Linda | 1/25/2014

    " First book, stunning. I really liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Antonio Mariani | 1/12/2014

    " I am looking forward to read another book of this writer. I am a swimmer, but I can feel like Philomena not only because of this... "

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