Kindred Spirits

The ability to swim fast - she was, for a time, the fastest woman ever over all the freestyle distances - was a gift Shane Gould couldn't cope with. A year after winning five medals at the Munich Olympics, the Sydney-born schoolgirl was lost. For Gould the joy of swimming was the sensation of gliding through water and the process of trying to do it better; but most people seemed fixated on results. Feeling depersonalized by celebrity and curious about life beyond the pool, she lacked the will to churn out laps.

So it was that, aged 16, one of the...

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