As the World Aquatics Championships are well underway, we have rounded up the best fiction about swimming for those of us who like to appreciate the sport from the comfort of our own home! 

EyeEm / Alamy Stock Photo

EyeEm / Alamy Stock Photo

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green 

In a seaside suburb on Australia’s golden coast, four women head to the water to swim every day.

Housewife Theresa wants to get fit; she also wants a few precious minutes to herself. So at sunrise each day she strikes out past the waves.

From the same beach, the widowed Marie swims. With her husband gone, it is the one constant in her new life.

Elaine takes to the sea having recently moved from England, while Leanne is twenty-five and only has herself to rely on.

In the waters of Shelly Bay, these four women find each other. They will survive bluebottle stings and heartbreak, they will laugh so hard they swallow water, and they will plunge their tears into the ocean’s salt.

Most of all, they will cherish their newfound friendship, each and every day.

The Wildwater Women by Ellie Wood 

Abby lives and works in the heart of the Lake District. She splits her time between bringing up her daughter, working in the Plum Pie Bakery – and dreaming of the time before her husband, Ben, left.

Lori is on holiday from the States, hoping to find her way to the lake that she’s looked at for years in a picture on her wall back home.

Rebecca is contemplating taking the plunge too. Despite her immaculate appearance Rebecca is keeping quiet about a childhood trauma which has left her scared of the water.

Clarissa is the founder of The Wildwater Women. An all-year-round open-water swimming veteran, and with a fearsome manner, she knows the lakes like no one else and her boundless energy defies her years.

Four women, all from very different lives, all with reason to step into the water and wash away their past. But will the friendship they build be enough to keep them afloat when they each must face their fears?

Sometimes finding yourself means diving in.

The Ladies' Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan 

When Elizabeth's husband dies, leaving her with crippling debt, the only person she can turn to is her friend, Jo. Soon Jo has called in her daughter, Lucy, to help save Elizabeth from bankruptcy.

Leaving her old life behind, Lucy is determined to make the most of her fresh start.

As life slowly begins to return to normal, these three women, thrown together by circumstance, become fast friends.

But then Jo's world is turned upside down when she receives some shocking news.

In search of solace, Jo and Elizabeth find themselves enjoying midnight dips in the freezing Irish Sea. Here they can laugh, cry and wash away all their fears.

As well as conjure a fundraising plan for the local hospice that will bring the whole community together...

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim by Jules Wake 

Ettie is trying to figure out her future.

Dominic’s just trying to forget his past.

But with the help of some unlikely friends, young and old, a secret lake hidden in the grounds of a beautiful estate and a scruffy dog, a new community is formed – right when they all need each other the most.

The Lido by Libby Page 

Brockwell Lido is under threat of closure from property developers. Rosemary, 86, has recently lost her husband of 65 years, with whom she used to swim in the lido every day. She has begun a campaign to save the place that holds so many memories for her.

Kate, 26, has just moved to London. Like many other young people, her initial excitement has given way to loneliness. She shares a house with people she never sees and spends every evening in her room with a ready meal and a bottle of wine. She suffers crippling panic attacks and has lost all her confidence.

Kate is the reporter for a local newspaper and is sent to cover Rosemary’s campaign. Rosemary recognises Kate’s loneliness and suggests that she take up swimming every day which Kate does, reluctantly and then with growing enthusiasm. She realises that in the water, everyone is the same and that the lido offers a kind of freedom from her isolated life.

Together, she and Rosemary join forces on the campaign to save it from closure.

Unexpectedly, people from the local community begin to step forward to offer their help and they realise that even in a city like London, they are not alone. THE LIDO is about the heart of a community, loneliness, friendship and hope.

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club by Katie May 

Only the truly devoted manage to swim every day at Whitstable, because the sea's only deep enough at high tide. So when Deb (ageing bikini, sunglasses) and Maisie (black wetsuit, swimming shoes, goggles) keep meeting on Reeves Beach, they strike up an unlikely friendship They swim early in the morning and late at night; through sea-fogs, rain and glorious sunny days. Soon, they are joined by other high tide swimmers, each with a crisis of their own to weather. Ann, a bossy organiser, is caring for her elderly mother at home; Julie has somehow (although she's not quite sure how) managed to produce three children under school age; and Chloe, a bright, brittle girl of fifteen, finds calmness in the water.

When the swimmers discover plans for their beach to be paved over for a leisure complex, they find a higher purpose that bonds them together, and exposes their fragile worlds to public scrutiny.

THE WHITSTABLE HIGH TIDE SWIMMING CLUB is a book about the power of female friendship, that never loses sight of the complicated truths behind the lives of women. It's also a song to the author's home town of Whitstable, where the sea is smooth, the shingle is painful on bare feet, and the air is full of possibilities.

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish 

In the heady swelter of a suburban summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.

For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holidays are always spent with her husband Ed and daughter Molly. But not this year.

Despite Molly's extreme phobia of water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by glamorous Lara Channing.

Soon she's spending long days with Lara at the pool and intimate evenings at her home.

Real life begins to feel very far away. But is the new friendship everything it seems?

Or, without realising, has Natalie been swept dangerously out of her depth?

The Lonely Hearts Lido Club by Charlie Lyndhurst 

Three strangers all caught in the deep end… but can they help each other float through?

After tragically losing her husband and being left a single mother to two children, Gabriella has only one escape for herself – swimming at a local London lido to clear her mind.

A constant stream of both new and familiar faces visit the lido like Gabriella – but she doesn’t suspect any are suffering quite like her, until she meets Helen – who swims to escape her emotionless husband, and Ian – who feels lost in the deep end after becoming unemployed and unable to tell his husband.

Grateful for new companionship, these three strangers decide to make their friendship into something more permanent: The Lonely Hearts Lido Club.