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Swimmers from Sweden's all-male synchronized swimming team perform "The Flower."
Courtesy of Copyright Amp
Swimmers from Sweden's all-male synchronized swimming team perform "The Flower."

Airs Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

"Men Who Swim" is a humorous and poignant look at a group of men of a certain age in Stockholm who have found unlikely fellowship as members of Sweden’s all-male synchronized swim team. What began as a weekly escape from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities, gradually evolved into a more serious commitment. By day, they are train conductors and meat buyers, archivists and teachers; but by evening, they channel Esther Williams and become earnest and passionate exponents of the sport.

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After initially believing themselves to be the only all-male synchronized swim 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. And the first-ever All Male World Championship in the sport is coming up soon.


The team enters the competition, but they quickly realize they will have to train hard if they are to have a chance at the medals. Drama flares as their competitive spirit collides with differing opinions about how to train and who is in charge. Slowly, a competition-caliber routine comes together.

Not only are the men anticipating the championships, but most of the team is also looking down the barrel at milestone birthdays. More than half will turn 40 during the year they first compete on the world stage (or in the world pool, as it were). They are all, in their own ways, taking stock of their lives, measuring their achievements to this point, and wondering what the future might hold.

"Men Who Swim" looks at what it means to be part of a team, but also what it is to be an individual at a crucial time in one’s life. Ultimately, the film is about realizing that maybe you’ve already got everything you ever wanted.

"Men Who Swim" is on Facebook.

Video Excerpt: Independent Lens: Men Who Swim
Video Excerpt: Men Who Swim: Popaganda Festival, Stockholm
Video Extra: Independent Lens: Men Who Swim