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Monday, March 6, 2017

Miquel Suñer's Story Behind 48 Braçades

Courtesy of Miquel Suñer with James Manresa.

48 Braçades: Solo tú marcas tu horizonte (48 Swimming Strokes: Only you set your horizons) is a 230-page book written in Spanish and Catalan by Miquel Suñer and James Manresa, published by Planeta.

Neda el Món says, "48 Braçades is the perfect choice [for a gift]. It is not a book about gifted athletes or supermen. It is a book about a young normal guy with a normal job.

Suñer challenges himself on the basis of years of effort and sacrifice and untiring perseverance. It's the story of someone who, like all of us, felt that something was missing and instead to stay with his arms crossed, decided to move, look inside of him, and go for what had always been a happy place for him: the water, the sea."

Suñer explains about the writing and background behind his first book:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why did you write your book?

Miquel Suñer: It was June 2012, few months before I was about to cross the Catalina Channel, when Planeta, the most prestigious Spanish publishing houses, saw one of my videos in YouTube. They were fascinated by my personal career and thought it was a perfect story to write a book. Besides, at that moment, a biography related to open water swimming was not in any of the Spanish book stores.

When they approached me, at the beginning I was surprised. I had never thought that anyone could be interested in using my story to write a book. Who would be willing to read a book about my story, I thought? However, after some days, my mind realised that there was some potential in all my challenges that could be gathered in a book.

To me, writing this book has been an opportunity to explain all the details of my personal story, my most intimate passions. I wanted to transmit the essence of the reasons why I face these challenges in this pure manner. It’s clearly been an enriching experience. At the end, my main goal writing this book was to inspire anyone who wants to face a challenge, beyond a sportive goal.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How long did it take to write this book?

Miquel Suñer: It took me almost two years to write the book. James Manresa, an open water swimmer brother, helped me with the writing style, structure, grammar. He was key in all these two intensive years. We met every 2 weeks to work together.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What subjects were easy to write about?

Miquel Suñer: Writing about my childhood was something that surprisingly was easy to me. I realised I was still very connected to those years.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What subjects were difficult to write about?

Miquel Suñer: Writing a autobiography is a great opportunity but, at the same time, it is a huge challenge.

Definitely, my father’s death was the hardest part to explain and brought back memories that were really sad. I was also worried about not being repetitive in the explanation of each crossing. It was a challenge to be able to transmit the particular essence, beauty and nature of each challenge.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Will this book be the last book that you write? Or do you want to write more books?

Miquel Suñer: I was convinced that 48 Braçades (48 Strokes) would be my last and only book I’ve ever written. However, several months ago I found myself starting to explore the possibility of writing my second book. I am now working on it. I want know to create a practical book about how to move from inspiration to real action. Compared to my first book, which was based on my inspirational story, I want now to do something more practical, bringing people close to the sea and open water swimming and allowing them to discover natural environments and beautiful underwater landscapes.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you prefer writing or speaking more?

Miquel Suñer: Speaking for sure. I give conferences to companies about motivation, leadership and team work as well as others about attitudes towards ocean conservation.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are there some phrases or words in Spanish that are better to express the sports of open water swimming than the same phrases/words in English?

Miquel Suñer: Spanish language might be richer in its diversity of adjectives than English. That is the reason why I think it is probably more useful when trying to describe emotions or the beauty of an underwater landscape to the readers. Nevertheless, English language is much direct, strong and clear for some purposes.

In the book, Sunyer describes his daily struggles and shares his values and challenges. "Swimming in the sea makes me feel free and alive, in intimate contact with nature," he explains. "Swimming is my own private form of meditation. I rejoice in the silence around me and relax with the sound of my own breathing. The sea is marvelous, full of life; it is crucial for our own survival and well-being. It needs to be preserved."

Kilian Jornet, a Spanish ski mountaineer widely regarded as the world's best trail runner, says about the book, “Like the mountains, the sea is one of the last places where you can truly be free. A captivating book that will transport you and give you goose bumps.”

For more information on Suñer, visit his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For more information on 48 Braçades, visit here.

Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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