Eric Chaline has combined writing and academic work with sport and exercise, both as a practitioner and coach. His first book for Reaktion was The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym (2015).
."Chaline is an athlete, a coach, and the author of several books
. . . Strokes of Genius follows in a similar vein by
examining swimming through historical, cultural, psychological, and
philosophical lenses. . . . This far-ranging, engaging work
examines the history of humanity's relationship with water from the
earliest humanoid ancestors to the present day. . . .
"Strokes of Genius is so much more than a history of swimming--it is an expertly guided tour of humans' long relationship with the aquatic realm. In accessible and witty prose, Chaline writes commandingly about everything from alternative theories of human evolution to Roman warfare and bath culture to social tensions piqued at modern pools to the swirling mass of plastic polluting the Pacific Ocean. Arresting anecdotes and thought-provoking insights appear page-after-page and remain lodged in the reader's mind for later contemplation."-- "Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America"