Swimming With Faith: The Missy Franklin Story (Book Review)

With the Olympics in full swing, it seemed like a good time to review Swimming With Faith: The Missy Franklin Story by Natalie Davis Miller.  I appreciate finding books that help me introduce my children to public figures who use their celebrity as a platform for sharing about what God has done in their lives, so I was eager to dive into this book on a current Olympian.

Swimming With Faith is a detailed look at Missy Franklin’s life as a swimmer, starting back when she was just a small child who loved the water.  Although she played multiple sports growing up, swimming was her favorite, and the hard work required to becoming a world class athlete was driven by her love of the sport.  In junior high, on a retreat with her Jesuit school, Missy began a relationship with God, and ever since has made Him a part of every aspect of her life, including swimming.  After winning multiple medals at the 2012 London Olympics, Missy became well-known, and she publicly gave God the glory and resisted the temptation to accept offers of wealth to turn professional, knowing that at age 17, it was wiser to keep her eligibility to swim in college.  She continued swimming with her high school team after the Olympics and then went on to swim for UC Berkeley.

Through seventeen chapters, Swimming With Faith tells Missy’s story with black-and-white photographs interspersed throughout the book.  At the end there is a glossary of swim terms as well as an extensive bibliography.  With its detailed account of her career, the book will appeal most to 8-12 year old readers with an interest in swimming.  It’s not a sport I follow outside of the Olympics, so I was reading more to find out about her faith.  There was plenty of discussion about that mixed in, but I didn’t even bother trying to read the book to my kids because I felt like the book was primarily a pieced-together conglomeration of facts about her career.

For those who are more into the sport, however, I’m sure the book would be much more interesting.  Missy Franklin is a great role model with a heart for serving others and beautiful love for God.

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