Men Who Swim

In the midst of mid-life crises, an all-male synchronized swim team is born.

Stop snickering. This is serious.

Filmmaker Dylan Williams tries to cheer himself up by joining an all-male synchronized swim team. He discovers a dozen other men struggling with the indignities of age and the uncertainty of a life half-lived in this look at an unlikely brotherhood of beer bellies, wet suits, and occasional underwater grace.

This is what Independent Lens does beautifully, and keeps me coming back: find a story that is begging to be told, and tell it.

Men Who Swim is a humorous, poignant look at a group of men  in Stockholm who have found unlikely fellowship as members of Sweden’s all-male synchronized swim team. What began as a weekly escape from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities, gradually evolved into a more serious commitment. By day, they are train conductors and meat buyers, archivists and teachers; but by evening, they channel Esther Williams and become earnest and passionate exponents of the sport.

After initially believing themselves to be the only all-male synchronized swim team in the world, they’re surprised to discover that other countries also have teams including Japan, Ukraine, Holland, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain. And the first-ever All Male World Championship in the sport is coming up soon.

Here is “The Lift,” which looks a bit like the SNL skit from a decade ago. Grace is hard to come by when you’re practicing:

Independent Lens: Men Who Swim
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– Scott