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Six swimming films for Valentine’s Day

If you’re not allowed to go swimming on Valentine’s Day, why not show your loved one you care by making them watch a film about swimming. Here are a six of our favourite swimming-related movies.

The Swimmer

Ending with bankruptcy, divorce and mental breakdown, The Swimmer is not perhaps the most romantic of date movies. Based on the John Cheever short story, this 1968 drama is a journey through American suburbia as Ned Merrill swims home from a party through his friends’ and neighbours’ backyard pools. The suburban encounters are initially amusing, but the film quickly becomes darker as it progresses to its disturbing ending.


Duh-duh, Duh-duh… Ok, so it’s not really about swimming, but Steven Spielberg’s classic shocker is well worth a re-watch, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. The blockbuster story of a great white shark terrorising holidaymakers off Amity beach is still gripping, even 40 years on. Just don’t watch it if you have any big sea swims planned…

Big River Man

In a word: nuts. Big River Man follows endurance swimmer Martin Strel’s wine-fuelled attempt to swim the Amazon to highlight environmental pollution. By turns funny and surreal, the journey into Martin’s own heart of darkness features piranhas, anacondas and crocodiles – and the touching father/son relationship between Borut and Martin.

Million Dollar Mermaid

A classic Esther Williams romantic musical, Million Dollar Mermaid is the story of swimming legend Annette Kellerman, the first woman to attempt the English Channel. In true Esther Williams style, the movie has fabulous underwater scenes and water shows as it tells the story of Kellerman’s rise to fame with a 26-mile swim in the Thames and the scandal of her one-piece bathing costume, all in full make-up and glorious 1950s Technicolor.

On a Clear Day

The film that inspired Adam Walker to swim the English Channel and started him on his Oceans Seven journey is a drama in the same mould as the Full Monty. Following redundancy from a ship yard, Frank Redmond (Peter Mullan) decides to claim back his self-respect and heal family rifts by swimming the English Channel. As you do. Just don’t blame us if you watch this then vow to tackle the Oceans Seven.

Captain Webb

It may not have had the best reviews, but this 2015 film of the first crossing of the English Channel is still worth a watch, if only for the brilliant, dreamy soundtrack from indie band British Sea Power. Maybe one to put on in the background…

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Jonathan is a year-round skins swimmer with a particular love of very cold water. He has competed in ice swimming competitions around the world. He is a qualified open water coach with a particular love of introducing new swimmers to the open water.