A sport like water polo can be taxing even for experienced swimmers. Now consider how challenging it might be for those who haven’t yet learned to swim.
In “Out of the Shallow End,” documentarian Laurie Russman profiles the successes of the girls’ water polo and swimming teams at Santa Ana’s Valley High School, where students are overcoming great odds to compete in the pool.
“I would compare it to coaching a basketball team, and you get (players) and they can’t walk,” Valley Coach Fred Lammers says in the short film. “There might be one of out of every 50 students who have had some form of swim lessons, but the majority have not.”
As coordinator at the UCLA Civil Rights Project, Russman has produced a number of documentaries and educational programs about underserved communities. Her latest venture, which has a running time of 20 minutes, shows how swimming at Valley has become more than just a sport. By being a part of a team and working through challenges, the Lady Falcons are carving out pathways to graduation and college.