Men Who Swim

A group of middle-aged men find unlikely success as members of Sweden's all-male synchronized swim team.

Men who swim 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
January 4, 2011
60 minutes
Williams dylan filmmaker bio


Dylan Williams has worked as both producer and director on a series of national and international films. His credits include productions shown on the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, ZDF-Arte, and the History Channel. His productions Space Tourists and Future Visions were sold to more than 25 countries worldwide. Dylan moved to Sweden in 2002 and has since directed a number of documentaries to be shown throughout Scandinavia including the tragic-comic Madame and Capt. Nilsson (2006); and Reserved for George (2007). Together with Erik Pauser, Dylan formed Amp Film in 2008, and Men Who Swim is the third film to be completed following The Face of the Enemy, which he produced, and the critically acclaimed concert film Holocene by Lars Siltberg.

Morrow alexandria filmmaker bio

Al Morrow

Al Morrow is an award-winning producer and Head of Documentary at Met Film Production. She produced the feature documentary Deep Water (Pathe, UKFC, FilmFour), winner of the Grierson award for Best Cinema Documentary 2007; and Jerry Rothwell's Heavy Load (IFCtv, ITV, BBC), which won the Audience Award at the Britdoc Festival in 2008 and the inaugural CDN Cultural Diversity Award for Excellence in Creative Output in 2009. She is in production on Jerry's upcoming feature documentaries Donor 150 (More 4, Arte, NRK), and Town of Runners (Britdoc Channel 4 Foundation, Digital Rights Group). She is in active development on a wide range of projects including Jeanie Finlay's, The Great Hip Hop Hoax (BBC Scotland) and Jerry's How to Change the World, which is being developed through the UK Film Council.


Erik Pauser

Erik Pauser works as a director, producer, and visual artist. His latest film as director and producer is the feature documentary The Face of the Enemy, (Brandklipparen, AMP, SVT). The film premiered in competition at IDFA 2009. He produced Lars Siltberg's Holocene with the Swedish Radio symphonic orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen in cooperation with writer Maj Gull Axelsson (Amp, Brandklipparen, SVT, 2008). Snow White and the Ambassador was released in 2005. Together with Jan Röed he produced and directed the prizewinning feature Tong Tana – The Lost Paradise (Charon, ZDF, SVT, 2001). The film Lucky People Center International (Memfis, Zentropa, 1999), which he directed and edited with Johan Söderberg, was released in cinema and TV in a number of countries, and became an instant cult favorite. His films have won prizes at Nordic Panorama, the San Francisco International Film Festival, FICA Brazil. His installations have been shown in galleries and museums in several countries.

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Men Who Swim is a humorous and poignant look at a group of middle-aged men who have found unlikely success as members of Sweden's all-male synchronized swimming team. What begins as a weekly escape from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities gradually evolves into a more serious commitment. Inspired by Esther Williams's techniques from the 1950s, these train engineers and meat buyers, archivists and teachers soon become passionate exponents of a sport generally associated with women.

After initially believing that are the only all-male 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. For the first time there is even going to be an unofficial All Male World Championship in the sport.

The team enters the championship in Milan and quickly realize they will have to train hard if they are to have a chance at the medals. Initially there is resistance among the men to a new regime that requires dedication, punctuality, and precision. Tempers flare and nerves fray, but finally they start to work in sync to pull together a winning routine.

More than half the team will turn 40 during the 2009 season, making the competition all the more urgent. The men are struggling with their identities as they move beyond youth and must contemplate the meaning of their lives and direction they will take.

Men Who Swim examines what it means to be part of a team and also what it is to be an individual at a crucial time in life. Ultimately, it's about realizing that maybe you've already got everything you ever wanted.