In time for the Queensland school holidays, comes polished light entertainer Swimming for Gold from prince of young adult features, Steve Jaggi. There’s standout performances here under the helm of director Hayley MacFarlane, filmed in and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Seventeen-year-old Claire Carpenter (Peyton List, Disney’s Jessie and Bunk’d) was an elite swimmer and social media darling until an accident left her with a fear of drowning. Claire has laid low since her last performance at a national championship went viral – when she failed to start the race and accidentally sent a journalist flying into the pool. Tired of seeing his daughter with no ambition or purpose, Claire’s father (played by Martin Dingle Wall) sends her to Australia to coach an elite boys swim team, much to Claire’s irritation.
Upon arriving at the swim camp, Claire confronts both her swimming legacy and social media embarrassment all at once. She is accosted by self-appointed head of the Claire Carpenter fan club, Annabel (a hilarious turn from Olivia Nardini, The Heights) who pesters her way into becoming Claire’s assistant. Claire is further horrified to find she will be sharing a room with her long-time rival and sworn enemy Mikayla Michaels (Lauren Esposito, The Conjuring 2).
Claire shows no interest in training the boys, until team captain Liam (Daniel Needs, Chasing Comets) challenges her ability as a coach. Her sole purpose for being sent to the school was to help them win their next swim meet, otherwise the entire school loses their sponsorship. Claire sees in Liam the passion she once had for swimming and steps up to prove him wrong. Helping her, is their present Coach Bohdi (a very comical Ray Chong Nee) whose regime so far has been impressing on the team the champion benefits of organic healthy living and warrior yoga poses.
With the girls siding with Mikayla and her new gruelling training techniques upsetting the boys, Claire wants nothing more than to go home, but with a signed contract committing her to the camp, and the weight of winning resting entirely on her shoulders, Claire must overcome her fear, and put aside her past differences with Mikayla.
While you keep watch to recognise the local scenes around south-east Queensland, look out too for cameos of elite champions from the swimming sports world.
Swimming for Gold opens this coming Thursday 17 September at all Village and Event cinemas. Check your local guides for screening times.
About Swimming for Gold
Running time: 91 mins
Written by Eric Bergemann
Directed by Hayley MacFarlane
Stars Peyton List, Daniel Needs, Lauren Esposito, Olivia Nardini, Johrel Martschinke, Ray Chong Nee.