A Boy in the Water

A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory

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By Tom Gregory

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11 reviews


10 Jan 2020


An inspirational read. Wonderful relationship between boy and man (not his father). Nothing is impossible. Never give up on your dream/goal.

17 Oct 2019


Fantastic book couldn’t put it down

14 Oct 2019


A thoroughly enjoyable read, on the journey of a young boy, Tom, from learning to swim to becoming the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel. This is a reflective memoir of a period in the author's life that very much shaped the man he was to become. He relates the tale as his younger self and in doing so, manages to capture the innocence and naivety of his childhood. It will make you gasp, laugh and be amazed as you follow him to the greatest challenge in his young life. Inspired by the Svengali like, sometimes cruel, coach of the local swim club, who installs in his young charges great self belief and the confidence to take on and conquer life's challenges.

09 Sep 2019


An amazing account told in the voice of the 11 year old Tom Gregory the youngest person to swim the Channel. From starting to swim in the early 1980's in South London to training in Windermere the book tells his story from 8-11yrs old and the people and community that made it possible. A warm yet heartbreaking tale of community family friendship and determination (with 1980's taped top ten music woven in) it is a joy to read and highly recommended

09 Sep 2019


A great account of a young boy’s journey to swim the English Channel. The relationship between the boy and his coach was inspirational. It just proves that if you are prepared to work hard, you can achieve anything.

A great story of innocence and trust, sadly lacking in this day and age. A great, and short, read.

12 Aug 2019


Set in the Australian outback in a region populate by cattle ranches, this story focuses on the Bright family. Two brothers own adjoining pieces of land yet, despite the fact that they are closer to each other than to any of their neighbours, it takes hours to drive from one property to the other across swathes of inhospitable desert. When one of them is found dead in unusual circumstances, nobody knows whether there are grounds for suspicion. As information about their upbringings, their previous relationships and their family circumstances emerge, it begins to look as though there may be something sinister afoot.

This is a great story which is well told and it encapsulates everything that a good thriller should aspire to – tension, suspense and so much more. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to finish. Despite the fact that very little actually happens, it is utterly compelling. We are drip fed information about the past which changes the present perspective. This adds an extra layer of complexity as we are forced to re-evaluate the known facts in the light of the new material. In addition, the author sets the scene very vividly, capturing the remoteness of the region as well as the hostile terrain in wonderfully descriptive prose.

I cannot think of a single thing that I would change about this book, and that is unusual!!

Jane Harper had been recommended to me by friends who had read her previous books but I had never got around to reading any of them. Believe me, that situation will be remedied very soon. Thoroughly recommended for anyone who enjoys a really good thriller.

08 Aug 2019


This was such an enjoyable memoir, a real gem.
Tom, the author was spotted by coach John as having the potential to achieve in the swimming world and this he most certainly did. They had a respectful relationship. Being written by Tom it gives his insight to what this relationship was like, what his thoughts and feelings were as a young child training hard and coping with life. I enjoyed the way it was written, it ran very smoothly.
I've recommended it to many friends who I thought it would appeal to and would enjoy it as much as I have.

18 Jul 2019


A fantastic story of a young swimmer named Tom and his account of events leading up to his world record crossing the English Channel.
I could relate to many parts of it as my own children were heavily involved in the whole 'swimming club' scene.
I thoroughly recommend this book. Thank you Tom Gregory!

18 Jul 2019

St Regulus AJ

Well deserving of excellent reviews. A delight of book written 30 years on by the youngest and fastest boy ever to swim the channel. Only months after this feat, rules for channel swims were changed and children would no longer be able to face this feat of extreme endurance. His record can never be broken.

As a boy, the author struggled to fit in at school and was perhaps destined for a life of just keeping up and mediocrity. He was sent to a local swimming baths with his sister and gradually he began to change. John Bullet ran the baths and had established a distance swimming club for local youths. Training was tough and time consuming and there was no opportunity for the young members to get into mischief. Yet they had a wonderful few years at the club; camping, wild swimming, friendships were forged for life and lessons learned that turned children into adults.

A record was broken. It will always stand. A gentle gem of a book.

10 Jul 2019

St Regulus SM

Written from a child's perspective, this book was wonderfully uncomplicated and a pleasure to read. It was both engaging and moving, and caused me to shed a tear (whilst reading on a packed train). This book is an absolute delight, and well worthy of 5 stars.

26 Jun 2019


This is one of those rare books that comes along and tempts you to read it all in one sitting. It’s a tender, charming memoir, written in the voice of 8-year-old Tom Gregory, the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel. Tom endured 12 hours in the cold waters of the Channel to complete his swim, a remarkable feat never to be repeated by someone so young.

Because it is written from the point of view of young Tom we don’t get caught up in adult issues. We see what Tom sees through his eyes. We see how he thinks, and how he reacts and processes what is going on around him.

I loved the innocence of the story, yet I was always waiting for that to be broken in some way. The book is about friendship, endurance, trust and love.

A wonderfully written story that deserves more than five stars.

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