And why do I believe in swimming? To put it briefly, swimming is a pleasure and a benefit, a clean, cool, beautiful cheap thing we all from cats to kings can enjoy. The man who has not given himself completely to the sun and wind and cold sting of the waves will never know all meanings of life. Swimming is more deeply woven into the fabric of man than any other form of motion. Athletics have scarcely begun to have a history, scientists tell us that walking is comparatively modern, but man swam before he was a man and he will swim till there is no more sea.
In her own words
I come from a nation of swimmers but no one remembers me now, yet I was once one of the most famous women in all the world. They called me the 'Diving Venus', the perfect woman, a daughter of the gods.
The words of Annette Kellerman commenting on her fame later in life.
I had the endurance but not the brute strength.
Spoken in 1905 after failing to be the first woman to swim the English Channel
I want to swim. And I can't swim wearing more stuff than you hang on a clothes line.
Spoken during a court hearing after she was arrested on a Boston beach for indecency in wearing a one-piece swimsuit.
I was very sensitive about my poor little deformed legs and I was permitted to wear long dresses to hide them.
Speaking about her childhood illness of rickets.
Though my swimming has earned me a goodly fortune I am still looking for my chest of gold in a cool dripping sea cave, though a professional mermaid for the movies, I still wait to see my first real one sitting on a damp grey rock combing her long green hair.
Spoken just before her death.
Swimming for women is more than physical, it can engender self-confidence, and in the art and science of swimming, a kind of equality, even superiority to that of men. My chief pride and pleasure has been the knowledge that my work has stimulated an interest in swimming as a woman’s sport.
Kellerman in 1915
There is nothing more liberating than swimming. Swimming out beyond the surf line is freedom itself. All life's shackles are washed away with the waves.