**Winner of the William Hill 2018 Sports Book of the Year Award**
A Sunday Times Book of the Year and Telegraph Best Book of 2018
'Extraordinary' Clare Balding
The poignant, life-affirming story of a determined boy, a visionary coach, and how the dream of a record-breaking Channel swim became reality
Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father.
This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.
Written beautifully through the eyes of a child yet to enter his teens, 'A Boy in the Water' resonated strongly taking me back to my own childhood. A fascinating story full of innocence, achievement, ambition and trust.
His immersive, colourful writing takes the reader through a challenge that even the most experienced adult long-distance swimmers would balk at. The story keeps you gripped from the start, all the way to an unexpected and heart breaking twist towards the end.
Beautifully written . . . often heart-wrenching.
I am absolutely in awe; a mind-blowing and phenomenal feat. A Boy in the Water will change ideas of what is possible
A compelling story of dedication and commitment. It'll make a great movie, but you should read the book first.
A Boy in the Water is a truly wonderful read of resilience, determination and courage. Whether you are interested in what it takes to be a Channel swimmer, or love a sport memoir, or simply like stories of our different experiences in the water, this book will win your heart.
A compelling account that serves above all as tribute to John Bullet, [Tom Gregory's] charismatic coach.
This evocative memoir recounts an agonising, hallucination-filled swim across the English Channel in 1988, when Gregory was just 11 years old.
The gruelling, awe-inspiring feat is recounted with poignancy and affection here, and this becomes a thrilling and moving tribute to the joys and perils of open-water swimming, too. Gregory's devotion to his incredibly tough challenge is remarkable
Charming and different; a lovely, brilliant memoir. What a boy! What a feat!