New Documentary Highlights Autistic Swimmers

by , under Autistic Swimmers, Swimming

There’s a new documentary about swimmers with autism, and how the sports helps them to navigate through life. “Swim Team” aired recently on PBS and focuses on the Jersey Hammerheads, a swim team based in New Jersey. The team is made up of young adults and teenagers who are all on the autism spectrum. This documentary helps to emphasize the fact that autism effects everyone differently, and highlights the notion that sports and physical activities can promote social interactions and confidence in individuals with special needs. “Swim Team” also introduces the founders of Hammerheads, Mike and Maria McQuay.

Lara Stolman is the filmmaker for this documentary, and she was inspired to create the project when her son, who is now 11, was diagnosed with autism almost a decade ago. Stolman wanted her son to learn the skill of swimming as soon as possible. She researched the Jersey Hammerheads and their mission, and wanted her son to be a part of the group. The swim team’s mission is to let autistic individuals know that they are capable of reaching milestones and achieving goals just like their non-autistic peers are. The documentary explains that the swim team members have full and fulfilling lives and have other hobbies and interests besides swimming.

Stolman shares that she felt like she was a member of the team while filming the documentary. For more information on “Swim Team,” visit

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