"To not know how to swim and to say, 'I'm going to go out for swimming and water polo,' I think it's a pretty courageous act…”
-- Coach Fred Lammers, Santa Ana Valley High School Women's Water Polo
Did you know that learning to swim often depends on the color of your skin, or the neighborhood where you grow up?
The statistics are alarming:
· 4 of 10 white, 6 of 10 Latino and 7 of 10 African American children cannot swim. (USA Swimming)
· Low-income youth of all backgrounds often have limited opportunities to learn to swim.
· Drowning is the second leading cause of childhood accidental death.
OUT OF THE SHALLOW END is an inspiring documentary that spotlights one school’s efforts to defy these trends. The story revolves around the “Lady Falcons” girl’s water polo team and their dedicated teacher-coaches at Valley High School in Santa Ana, California. Most of the girls don’t know how to swim at all before joining the team. They struggle to overcome numerous challenges to compete at water polo, an extremely taxing sport even for the most experienced. Ask Coach Lammers what it’s like to teach the sport from scratch and he’ll say, “It’s the equivalent of recruiting a basketball player who doesn’t know how to walk.”
Students at Valley High are 97% Latino and 97% low-income. The aquatics program here strives to promote academic achievement as well as raise the swimming rates in the school community. Swimming at Valley is not just a sport -- it’s a pathway to high school graduation and college for all the girls. In fact, most are first in their families to reach these milestones.
Getting OUT OF THE SHALLOW END is just the beginning of the journey ahead.
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY LAURIE RUSSMAN
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY KARINA SILVA
EDITED BY NORA GRUBER
MUSIC BY STEPHEN ALEXANDER SPIES
Approximate Run Time: 20 min ©2016 Laurie Russman/Cinemama
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