There is something about water that makes it a good metaphor for life. That may be one reason why so many people find relief in swimming when life's seas get rough.
And it goes some way towards explaining why books about swimming, in which people tackle icy lakes, race in rivers and overcome oceans while reflecting on their lives, have recently become so popular.
These books reflect a trend, particularly strong in Britain, where swimming in pools is declining, but more and more folks are opting for open water.
"Wild swimming" seems to be especially popular among women. Jenny Landreth recently published a guide to the best swimming spots in London.
Her new book, Swell, interweaves her own story with a history of female pioneers who accomplished remarkable feats and paved the way for future generations.
Notions of modesty restricted women in the Victorian era, but they still swam. A "bathing machine" was rolled down to the seashore so women would not be seen in swimwear.
In 1892, The Gentlewoman's Book of Sport described a woman swimming in a heavy dress, boots, hat, gloves and carrying an umbrella.
1892年，《贵妇人运动手册》(The Gentlewoman's Book of Sport)描述了一位女士穿着厚重的连衣裙、靴子、帽子、手套，手持雨伞游泳
Eventually, swimming became freer. Mixed bathing was permitted on British beaches in 1901.
Women won the right to swim in public pools, learned to swim properly, created appropriate swimwear and, in time, even competed against men.
The first woman to cross the English Channel was Gertrude Ederle in 1926. She beat the record by almost two hours and her father rewarded her with a red sports car.
Questions 12 to 15 are based on the passage you have just heard.
12. What has become so popular recently?
13. What did Jenny Landreth do recently?
14. What do we learn about women in the Victorian era?
15. What does the passage say about Gertrude Ederle?