This chapter explores the ways in which the boundaries of authentic swimming are negotiated and maintained. Drawing on case studies of contested marathon swims, the chapter focuses on the necessary arbitrariness of the rules and the centrality of ‘respect’ to the construction of authenticity. The chapter argues that the ongoing boundary work of defining and authorising marathon swimming is both an inward and outward-facing task that attempts to shore up the boundaries of legitimate marathon swimming and distinguish it from related and intersecting (sub) worlds. This demonstrates the ways in which the work of becoming a marathon swimmer is never only about the embodied transformations discussed in earlier chapters, or a completed swim, but is also about the overt performance of a set of values.
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