There is quite a lot of technical stuff about body rotation and stroke length, but what drives the book are the stories of people who have swum through history and keep going today, from Olympics pool speedsters to open-water endurance superheroes.
There is a strong American bias to it all, but then the USA has tended to dominate the record books.
The author is in fact a Swedish coach, and he has a great writing style that goes off on all sorts of interesting side-trails that only serve to enrich the narrative.
You won’t find too many Brits in these pages, other than Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the Channel but who later went a tragic stroke too far at Niagara Falls, plus a 79-year-old phenomenon called Jane Asher (not that one).
Leafing through the “wall of fame” at the back, only Adam Peaty, triathletes Chrissie Wellington and Alistair Brownlee and open-water swimmer Keri-Anne Payne get a passing mention.
Still, swimming transcends mere national boundaries! Talking of which, all the doped-up East German medallists of the ‘70s and ‘80s have had their shamed names struck through.
If all the material about drills, fitness and technique leaves you cold there are also chapters on topics such as how marine life gets around, and one about how the body deteriorates with age that is depressingly forensic.
But if you swim as well as fin, you might just find this book a stimulating read.