Cover Image URTwo swimmers are chasing after the same Olympic gold medal. They’re bitter rivals, but also teammates and best friends. Which will win the day – friendship or rivalry?

Doyle Wilson, the narrator, is nearing the end of a career that has not yet fulfilled his childhood dreams. Archie Hayes, on the other hand, has reached the pinnacle – the sport has brought him money, fame, and women. Doyle and Archie battle every day in practice. Doyle bets that his work ethic and brains will somehow, just once, prevail over Archie’s superior talent. Doyle burns all his bridges to focus on swimming.

The bridges do not burn quietly. Two women are interested in Doyle. In the following excerpt he meets Camille Cognac, magazine model and best female swimmer in the world, in a dark hallway at the USA team dorm:

There was only one light in the whole hallway, halfway down, flickering. It took me a couple seconds to figure out what she really wanted. I was tempted. But I was scared.

I looked at Camille in that dark hallway in Brisbane, and what I saw was one of the magazine photos. The photographer had tried to make Camille look like Marilyn Monroe. It wasn’t hard to do, with her chlorine-blonde hair and her bountiful pectoral region. Her lips were parted slightly as if she were whispering something, her eyes half open, her hair tousled. She was holding up two of her Olympic gold medals, which covered…well, they didn’t cover much. The thing that stood out most to me was the tattoo on her left hip. It was a shark. A twisting mako shark, ready to lunge.

I was NOT afraid of Camille. I was afraid of the shark.

In the excerpt below, Doyle’s coffee pal Molly reappears in his life after he returns from a disappointing swim at the World Championships:

I looked up at Molly after stirring my coffee and she was grinning at me so hard it made me laugh. “What?” I said.

“Your hair! What’d you do, buzz it in Australia?”

“Not quite, but yeah, I wanted it short.”

“Seems to be growing in kind of fluffy-like.”

I reached up and felt it. “Don’t you like it short?”

“I do, I love it short.” She took a sip of her cappuccino. “Within reason.”

“Oh hey, I brought you something.” I pulled it out of my pocket—a platypus keychain. Not much of a gift, really, but I knew she liked monotremes.

“Awww. Thanks, Doyle. If I ever get a car I’ll know right where to put the keys.”

I love small talk with Molly, but I became keenly aware that she was on a break and our time was limited. “I did get a crave,” I said, “but I actually need some advice from you.” We both sipped our drinks. “I got fourth in the World Championships.”

“Nice,” she said. “I saw you on TV. I liked it when you knocked your headphones cockeyed.” Shoot, I was hoping nobody’d noticed.

“Getting fourth was bad news, I’m afraid.” Molly needs to have these things explained to her. When she plays video games, she doesn’t care who wins. I suspect she loses on purpose sometimes so no one feels bad. That’s one thing I don’t like about her—I’m usually on her team.

“I’m 24 years old,” I continued. “For a swimmer, that’s getting pretty old if you’re not at the top. At some point I’ve got to start living a real life, and it looks like now’s the time.”

She casually pushed her Natalie Wood hair behind her left ear. “Are you ready?” she asked.

Legendary Olympic swimmer Janet Evans says this about The Underwater Window: “There’s romance in this story, just below the surface. What’s most endearing about Doyle is not the all-consuming pursuit of his swimming goals, but his growing awareness that there’s more to life, and that swimming is preparing him for it. I enjoyed this book immensely.” The Underwater Window is appropriate for ages 13 and up, women and men, swimmers and non-swimmers. Readers will be inspired by Doyle’s Olympic quest, in which he comes to grips with the true meaning of friendship and finds something better than a gold medal.

Dan Stephenson is a lawyer and world champion masters swimmer. The Underwater Window, published by Untreed Reads, is his first novel. It is available in digital and paperback versions from,, and the Untreed Reads store.

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