Over the weekend I had the opportunity to see the film, "Touch The Wall" . If you are planning on seeing it... DO NOT READ FURTHER! :) The film exposes the trials and triumphs of Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce in reaching their goal to the 2012 Olympics.
I am extremely happy that an independent film about our sport was made. However, I honestly I had a few issues wit the film.
1) Why does Kara Lynn feel that swimming in Colorado with a 14 year-old would change her swimming. Granted, Missy was coming to the forefront of our sport. But what does a 26 year-old have in common with a 14 year-old?
2) Is it possible to receive the appropriate coaching from someone who has only been an age group coach? As someone who has coached DIII, age group, country club, and high school, I had to figure out which demographic worked for me (which I finally figured out). I wonder if Kara Lynn really screened for the ideal coach for her?
3) Towards the end of the film, Kara Lynn goes to a team in North Carolina (ironically Cullen Jones is also swimming on the team and he gets 1-2 minutes of total screen/talk time). You FINALLY see Kara Lynn HAPPY and enjoy being in the water!
4) I never realized the immense pressure to CONSTANTLY perform. If you don't perform well (as in Kara Lynn's experience) you loose a $30,000 stipend. You rarely see the support of her parents, but she has a boyfriend. Does she have any support?
5) I wanted to know how Missy's family was able to afford for her to go to all of the meets. She declined to take any funding during her high school year (smart decision), but I wonder if anyone else could afford such costs?
My analysis of the film was this: If you need a jumpstart on getting reacquainted with your love for the water this could be that film. If you are looking for diversity (racially), thank Cullen Jones. If you are looking for strong women athlete role models who are humble, Missy demonstrates those attributes. If you are looking for that comeback kid who is finally reminded that her body is not 14, Kara Lynn is your woman. Definitely a good film to bring your swimmers to. There is something in it for everyone.