Iron Mike here presents to you twelve days of gift ideas for the marathon swimmer in your life. Check back daily!
Day eleven: Sunday, 24 December, Christmas Eve Movie Night!
You can find movies (DVDs) on swimming technique all over the internet. That’s not what I’m talking about. (But if I were, I’d recommend this one by the folks at Swim Smooth.) I’m talking about entertaining films that are about swimming, specifically marathon or channel swimming and the spirit of marathon swimming.
One that I loved watching was Dangerous When Wet. Loved it so much I did a review of it. It’s a bit cheesy, having been filmed in 1953, but the best part of it is when the English Channel race organizer goes over the rules of the race:
Do not touch your rowboat. Or your trainer. Or you will be disqualified. When you reach Dover, you must wade ashore unaided.
At another point, the main character is in the middle of the English Channel and her love interest comes out to swim with her, and she says “Stay back, don’t touch me!” Even movie producers in the ’50s understood marathon swim rules and why we marathon swimmers are so passionate about them.
Bottom line, if you want a nice, romping and cheesy family movie with a huge swim as the setting, watch Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet.
Next, I recommend Driven. This is one of the most fun movies you’ll ever watch. If you’re not a marathon swimmer, but you wonder why crazy people do things like swim in cold water for half a day (or more), then you need to watch this film. The film makers follow three marathon swimmers as they train and swim some difficult channel crossings in the Santa Barbara Channel. The cinematography is incredible, offering views few get to see. (How many support crew want to dive into 57* water and swim under the marathon swimmer?)
Driven was crowd-sourced and I am in awe of what the community was able to do to get this film produced. It was a final selection in two international film festivals (Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo); what I would have done to get to see it on the big screen. I couldn’t say it any better than the Santa Barbara Independent, when they said the movie…
…manages to wow with its story-line while simultaneously mesmerize with its cinematography”
Two thumbs up. And it is available in digital format as well as physical DVD.
There are other movies out there, but I haven’t seen them. There’s a movie out there about Captain Matthew Webb, first person to swim the English Channel. Fittingly it is called Captain Webb. I have not seen it as I can’t get online access to it here in Russia. Maybe I’ll watch it when next in the U.S.
Another I want to watch when I get access to it is Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story, about the teenager who in 1954 became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. Her story is incredible and should be known among all marathon swimmers. Her story is also a great story for young girls, and one I shared with my daughters.