Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides are the recipients of the 2018 Buck Dawson Author Award presented by the Internationla Swimming Hall of Fame!
"Here Ervin and swim trainer and journalist Markides combine talents to create a biography that is part first-hand narrative by Ervin, with Markides filling in the details and providing context. The formula works, pulling readers into Ervin's experience of the thrill of victory and search for meaning...Featuring more depth, breadth, truth, and the effects of reckless choices than found in traditional athlete biographies, this gripping account is just in time for the gear up to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Readers will understand the psyche and life of elite athletes as never before, then cheer Ervin on in his attempt to make another Olympic team."
"A celebrated Olympian recounts how he rose to the top of his sport, crashed, and found redemption...This book, which tells his story through a narrative that interweaves the former gold medalist's memories with commentary by his friend and colleague Markides, reveals the extreme highs and lows that characterized Ervin's remarkable life and career...The author never flinches at revealing his less-than-perfect past, and the humility he demonstrates at coming to terms with his own egotism and personal shortcomings makes the book frequently compelling. A provocative and refreshingly honest redemption memoir."
"Markides smartly combines his own journalistic account with a parallel narrative in which Ervin...explains his life and style. Some talents simply defy explanation, however, and Ervin may be in that category...The story of his comeback at 31 (ancient for a swimmer) is rendered more amazing by the contrast with what went before."
"For Anthony Ervin, the stretch between his two greatest athletic achievements--two Olympic gold medals--included a suicide attempt, a period of homelessness and a stint in a rock band. Jobs found, then lost. Too much drinking, too many drugs. Depression. Confusion. And then, a kind of rebirth."
"An inspiring, humorous and often profound biography."
"Anthony Ervin is a lot of things. He is an open book and a closed circuit, a body fueled by a brain, an old man with a young soul. He is the American Dream. He is, once again, improbably, an Olympic champion."
"[Ervin's] story is an amazing comeback tale."
Every four years in the Olympic cycle the surge of national interest in swimming grows, and with it a desire to be captivated by its stars. This book tells the dramatic, surprising, and sometimes provocative path that Anthony Ervin has taken to become one of those captivating Olympic heroes. Not your typical sports memoir, Chasing Water also contains arresting black-and-white drawings and a graphic story extra, as well as an inventive and mercurial narrative style that morphs chapter by chapter to reflect Ervin's restless, multifaceted life.
Ervin won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games at the age of nineteen. He is an athlete branded with a slew of titles including being the first US Olympic swimmer of African American descent, along with Jewish heritage, who also grew up with Tourette's syndrome. He shocked the sporting world by retiring soon after claiming two world titles following the 2000 Olympics. Auctioning off his gold medal for charity, he set off on a part spiritual quest, part self-destructive bender that involved Zen temples, fast motorcycles, tattoo parlors, and rock 'n' roll bands. Then Ervin resurfaced in 2012 to not only make the US Olympic team twelve years after his first appearance, but to continue his career by swimming faster than ever before.
"Anthony Ervin's path was anything but typical, going from winning a gold medal in swimming in 2000 at the age of 19 to retiring, auctioning off his medal for charity and embarking on a life that included joining a rock band, drugs and alcohol before coming back to swimming. Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian is an honest look at his life and his return to the pool and to the Olympic Games in 2012. He went on to win gold once more in 2016."
"Ervin is easily identifiable in the splash-and-dash race by his sleeve of tattoos on each churning arm. He turns interviews into a discussion on everything from philosophy to Biblical parables. Earlier this year, he detailed his life's adventures, including drugs and sex, in a book called Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian."
--AP/The Big Story
"You won't find many athletes like Ervin, nor will you find many sports autobiographies like his recently published Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian...It's fascinating."
"[Chasing Water] is one of the most honest athlete biographies you'll ever read. It is Ervin's story, unvarnished."
--The Red Bulletin Magazine
"Ervin, a former world record-holder, won gold in Rio in the 4x100m free and 50m free races. He's also overcome incredible odds, surviving depression, homelessness, and addiction in the years between his record-breaking 2000 Olympic performance and his comeback in 2012. His book, Chasing Water, tells the story of those times."
--Miami New Times
"A compelling...view of an amazing person and successful swimmer named Anthony Ervin...Definitely a recommended read."
""This is the story of how Anthony Ervin, a former world record holder, won gold in Rio in the 4 x 100m free and 50m free races. He's also overcome incredible odds, surviving depression, homelessness, and addiction in the years between his record-breaking 2000 Olympic performance and his comeback in 2012."
"Just a glance at the cover of the swimmer's recently published memoir Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian, reveals the intensity of Ervin's career to date. He's seen looking straight at the reader while in the full lotus pose underwater in a pool. Other swimmers are racing behind him, but Ervin doesn't see them. The message the reader receives is clear: Anthony Ervin is focused on more than the competition."
"Anthony Ervin won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games, then auctioned off his medal for charity and retired from swimming in his early 20s. He set off on what's been described as 'part spiritual quest, part self-destructive bender,' then returned to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Now 35, Ervin will swim the 50-meter freestyle in Rio. Here, he tells his story in alternating chapters with journalist and swim trainer Constantine Markides."
"Most memoirs from Olympians are puff pieces, ghost-written so blandly you fall asleep trying to make it to the end of the first chapter. Chasing Water is the opposite of that, an intimate, visceral experience you will appreciate."
"On the surface, a biography about a swimmer with just one individual Olympic gold medal might seem a stretch. Anthony Ervin's story, however, transcends that shining moment in the 50-meter freestyle sprint at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when he won a relay gold. After becoming the first swimmer of African American descent to medal in Olympic swimming, Ervin auctioned off his most prized medal in order to donate to tsunami relief. He retired from competitive swimming and entered a period of self-discovery that led to some questionable decisions and lessons learned the hard way. He resurfaced in 2012 to make the US Olympic team with a personal-best time, yet finished fifth at the Games in London. Now he's training for a shot at swimming in a third Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro. His roller coaster ride to this point is told alternately by journalist and swim trainer Constantine Markides and by Ervin in his own revealing words."
--Christian Science Monitor, 6 Eclectic Sports Books
"However one may be compelled to slap a bar code on Ervin--the Charlie Sheen of the U.S. Swim Team may even be in consideration--part of the complex context of his odyssey toward making the 2016 roster this summer comes in owning up to a new book, Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian, which Ervin co-writes in an interesting authorship divide with [Constantine Markides], a competitive swimmer himself."
--Los Angeles Daily News
"[Chasing Water] intentionally shucks athlete biography conventions in exchange for a seesaw of first-person memories written like diary entries (plus some of Ervin's actual dairy entries) and third-person exposition interspersed with quotes from key characters."
--San Diego Jewish Journal
"The story of Anthony Ervin is awe-inspiring...[and] beautifully chronicled in Anthony's recently released memoir, Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian. Wholly original, it's completely unlike any sports memoir you have previously read. Featuring arresting black-and-white drawings and a graphic story extra as well as an inventive and mercurial narrative style that morphs chapter by chapter to reflect Ervin's restless, multifaceted life, it's an uncommon, must read sui generis sports autobiography."
"Touching and heartfelt."
--Books & Life
"A refreshingly unexpected athlete biography void of eye-rolling, clichéd, self help propaganda bullshit."
--Gary Hall, Jr., swimmer, ten-time Olympic medalist
"[Ervin] is the most talented swimmer I've ever seen...He just has amazing feel for the water. He doesn't power through; he has finesse."
--Natalie Coughlin, swimmer, twelve-time Olympic medalist
"The most original character in the world of swimming...Ervin's story will inspire, astonish, and challenge your notions of what it means to be an Olympic athlete. Forget the surface-deep stories you see every four years on television, this is the raw wet truth of a monstrous talent with the demons to match. Like Andre Agassi's Open, it's a story of mighty potential both realized and abandoned, and found again. Olympic champion, rock 'n' roll wastrel, cerebral mind, and physical freak, Ervin defies categorization and cuts his own path through a high wire life."
--Casey Barrett, Olympic swimmer
"Anthony Ervin is not only the most beautiful swimmer in the water I have ever seen, he is also one of the great stories of triumph and perseverance in the midst of tremendous adversity. I am so proud to call him my friend and I know his life's challenges will inspire generations to come."
--Rowdy Gaines, swimmer, three-time Olympic gold medalist
- Buck Dawson Author Award