The Swimmer is a short story about upper-class swimmer Neddy Merrill who decides one day to swim home from a friend's by traversing every one of the area's many pools. The narrative is surreal, showing an impossible progression of time as Neddy ages into relative infirmity during the course of his journey while also progressing from summer to autumn at an incredible rate. Neddy experiences initial highs and warm welcomes, but his journey ends at his own house, now abandoned and decrepit.

Summary of The Swimmer by John Cheever

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