Published over 25 years ago, Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero by Charles Sprawson has just been reprinted and relaunched by Vintage. The book has become somewhat iconic, a first in what has grown into a huge range of swimming books in recent years. It received sensational reviews when first published.
“People hadn’t read a biography of an idea like this before – a biography of an obsession,” says Nicholas Pearson, his original book editor. “It seemed to us such a peculiar book. Publishers like to put things in places and boxes and it wasn’t clear what this thing was.”
Author and journalist Alex Preston says: “It is like a memoir smuggled into something else. You see glimpses of Charles, but only glimpses. Someone once said of Proust, ‘that all great books establish their own genre.’ I feel like this was the first in what is now a huge range of swim-moirs.”
The book also contains a whole section dedicated to the swallow dive. To win one of five copies of Haunts of the Black Masseur share photos or a short clip of your swallow dives on Instagram tagging @outdoorswimmer and #sprawsonswallowdive -- we will pick our five favourite.
Competition closes 31 July 2018