Back to IndieWire

Documentary ‘Swim Team’ Tackles Autism, Teamwork and Community

Documentary 'Swim Team' Tackles Autism, Teamwork and Community

Here’s your daily dose of an Indie film in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

Swim Team

Tweetable Logline: Coming of age with autism and striving for success in and out of the pool.

Elevator Pitch: “Swim Team” chronicles the overwhelming struggles and extraordinary triumphs of three young competitive swimmers with autism and their swim team that brings hope to a community. It’s a film about how sports transcends disability and not giving up on your kid.

Production Team: 

ANN COLLINS – Co-Producer/Editor – has been working in documentary film for over 25 years. Her editing credits include the feature documentaries “The Heart of the Matter,” “Belly Talkers,” “The Charcoal People” and “Sound and Fury,” all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before receiving theatrical and television distribution. “Sound and Fury” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

– Director of Photography – Her documentary feature credits include the Academy Award winning “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” Sundance hit “American Teen,” the Emmy-nominated “Word Wars” and “Sync or Swim,” which won the Billie Award for Journalism from the Women’s Sports Foundation. Her most recent feature documentary “How to Dance in Ohio,” premiered at Sundance in January, 2015 and will air on HBO later this year.

– Director – Producer – has produced news and documentaries that have aired on NBC, MSNBC, TLC, AMC and VH-1. Her film “Portraits of Survival,” about coming to terms with the tragedy of 9/11 through art, aired on MSNBC, was selected for the Hamptons International Film Festival and won a Cine Golden Eagle award. “Swim Team” is her first independent feature documentary.

– Producer – Shanna has an extensive background in film and TV development and production. After getting her start at Creative Artists Agency, she went on to work at 20th Century Fox, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (where she created rockumentaries), Steven Bochco Productions and ABC Pictures. More recently, Shanna has cultivated her experience in traditional and digital media to address social change.

About the Film: 
I was inspired by the “Swim Team” families who had been told their children wouldn’t be able to speak, dress themselves and would be institutionalized. They refused to accept the limitations placed on their children. Their kids were not welcome onto community teams so they formed their own swim team and when they saw how much their children benefited, it changed their outlook on what was possible for them.

Current Status: 
Post-production and fundraising.

If you have an in the works project and you’d like to be profiled in an upcoming IW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged




David Chang

That’s the great movie


I would like to see this documentary

Clarence Pryor

Swim Team has got my vote because it helps with swimmers going through a lot with teamwork, honor, autism and helping with the community.

Susan Zur-Szpiro

As a parent of a son with autism who is a drummer in a band called The AutistiX, who also swims, we are very interested to see this film about a swimming club for people with autism! We wish there were such a club in the UK! We love to see examples of the talents and potential of people with autism!!!


A like

Gloria amaro lopez


Robert Exelbert

Cant wait to see the movie !

Jackie Exelbert

Yes -would love to see Swim Team -this is inspiring to all!

C. Fregoso

I can hardly wait for this movie!


Yes! This sounds like an amazing program.



Greg Walther

Yes, I would like to see this.

Tracy Adamkiewicz

I would love to see this documentary

Karla Giardiello

Yes, I would like to see this documentary!

Vivian Hernandez

I think this would be a very inspirational film and necessary for many to see

Yes, I'd love to see this!

Yes, I’d love to see this!

Vicky Choy

yes, I would like to see!

Rick Colosimo

Sounds like a great film!


I would like to see this Documentary!
It will be a great example to learn and appreciate these people with great enthusiasm in life to excel

Kelli Arnone

I would love to see this documentary, as an inspiration for people of all ages, struggling with a disability.




i would like to see too

Ilona Gundersen

Yes! I would love to see this documentary.

Kristi Kaylor

I can’t wait to see this documentary! I have heard amazing things about it!



Karen Hilliard Johnson

Yes very much. I am a swimmer and know how a program like this can matter

Susan Wernoch

I would love to see this documentary as well. Very talented Children. See for yourself. Vote for Swim team.

Sindy smith

I would like to see The swimming documentary

Kathleen OMalley

My daughter teaches high school children with autism and all just want to be included. I would love to see this film.

Don Malone

can’t wait to see it

Elaine Gischlar

I would love to see this documentary! This sounds amazing.

Elaine Gischlar

YES I would love to see this documentary!


I would love to see this film!

Anthony Timpanaro

I would like to see this documentary.

Jennifer Hedges

Yes I would love to see this movie! These kids are truly amazing!!

Michael Thomas

From what I understand, many on the autism spectrum have great difficulty in connecting with others, and the concept of teamwork is equally as elusive. This sounds like an excellent way to bridge the gap in both these areas and really help otherwise isolated kids and allow them to achieve and make friends. Good on ya Swim Team Team. I’d love to see this.

Carol Lee

shining talents found here for all to see….this film needs to be seen by all



Kurt Byth

I would like to see this.


This is by far the most interesting topic. I want to see it!

Gary Walther

Yes I would like to see this documentary

Mary Perez


Judie Day

I would like to see this inspirational documentary. I think that all will enjoy and gain a new positive perspective on what it means to be an athlete and show true sportsmanship.

Iris Rivera

As a parent with kid with special needs with program like this to learn and grow. And I would like to see this documentary.

Robert Merenstein

I am looking extremely forward to seeing this documentary.

Mike McQuay

This film is a must see! I am so proud to be a part of this documentary and I am so proud of everyone of my athletes who work hard at every practice and never complain. Swim Team gives a voice to our athletes and it will show the world that our special needs children are amazing and can do great things! Remember never give up on your child!

Michael McQuay

I can’t wait to see this film! I am not like any other teenager I am Autistic but when I swim I feel NORMAL!!

Maria McQuay

This is going to be an incredible documentary that should be seen by everyone! Swim Team touches your heart and soul! There is nothing that our special needs children cannot do all they need is a chance! NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILD!

Stanley Truong

Icannot wait to see this documentary.

Linda Mero

This looks like a terrific documentary! I would like to see it.

Pete Scott

This would certainly make a big splash!

Julie James

I have seen the trailer and this is an excellent and important film

Marisol Polidura

I would love to see this documentary. The Jersey Hammerheads Swim Team has given my daughter an outlet finally to show her skills. My family and I are so thankful and grateful for all that have dedicated themselves to help our children enjoy this experience.

Bretta Price

I would like to see this documentary!

Nancy Nolley

YEs – I would like to see this Documentary!

Dan Burns

As parents of one of the swimmers (the youngest) on the team, we are grateful for the exposure this gives to the program. Its programs like this that allow kids, like our son, to have the same experiences as typical kids and to learn and grow from them. We are very grateful for the volunteer coaches that put in their time and are so dedicated. Hopefully this film will inspire more people to get involved to help other kids with special needs to have great life experiences.

Lee Giblin

this sounds amazing and inspiring – I would love to see this!


I have an autistic swimmer. It is the only place in his life he actually surpasses his neurotypical counterparts. I love this idea.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *