Parents' Guide to

Swim Team

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Inspiring documentary about young athletes with autism.

Movie NR 2017 100 minutes
Swim Team Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+

The Best Movie for Kids with Autism

R.G. (Age 9, has autism): I liked the show part because this kid named Mikey is amazing and does good stuff. So does Kelvin. My Mom recommended this movie because I have autism. E.G. (Age 9, has autism): I liked every part because it was special to me. One day, I will swim in the Atlantic Ocean. D.G. (Age 51, Parent): The kids are interested in joining a swim team and I wanted to find a movie about kids on a swim team. This movie could not have been more perfect. We were able to pause the movie and discuss swim strokes, working hard, learning skills, how someone with Tourette’s may swear sometimes (there is a lot of swearing, but it is often explained when it happens), how some of the kids on the team did not have friends but became friends with each other, and how learning skills could help the kids get a job someday. I am so happy for the families participating in the movie that their kids were able to have a good experience. I highly recommend this movie. I wish all of the families involved in the movie the best.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
age 15+

A Real Perspective!

I truly enjoyed this documentary. I laughed at the humor, but remained somber with the reality of issues families deal with while making decisions for their children who live with a disability. I work in the I/DD field and watching Swim Team inspired me with how effective sports or alternative methods of therapy can help the individuals I serve with a variety of issues. I absolutely loved the perspective of the film since it dealt with the transition period, a time that is often over looked by a school system and under prepared for by the family. This period continues to be a struggle for both entities and I hope that in the future all school systems will be equipped with a program like Project SEARCH to prepare both students and families with a transition plan to help students learn both life and work skills to help them lead an independent life. Thank you for the vision to film this type of documentary.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This film is a compassionate, inspiring documentary about compassionate, inspiring people. Director Lara Stolman makes Swim Team from the point of view of an advocate, and you can feel her rooting for the young athletes as she records their dramatic swim meets and equally dramatic personal moments. Some are almost too painful to watch -- viewers are invited to watch a mother telling her 18-year-old son the reason that he's different from other kids. Understandably, he doesn't want to talk about it.

The parents worry about what will happen to young adults who can't cook themselves a simple meal or tie their own shoes (Coach McQuay takes the time to painstakingly teach Mikey to make scrambled eggs). As the movie ends, one 18-year-old gets a summer job caring for zoo animals. Another swimmer gets work as a janitor. Another wants to work in design and is continuing his schooling. The movie captures their optimism about their future. And it emphasizes that these kids with autism were lucky to have caring, dedicated parents.

Movie Details

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