As the brutal Chicago winter draws near, Deirdre, Helen and Jennefer—avid open water swimmers—make a pact to continue through the snow and ice as the pandemic rages on. This intense commitment becomes their salvation from lockdown and helps alleviate each of their personal struggles. Initially just acquaintances, Swimming Through follows their friendship as it coalesces around their commitment to the daily ritual of swimming at sunrise in Lake Michigan.
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We shot this film during the pandemic lockdown in the winter of 2021. We had a small crew and wore masks even while filming outdoors which actually proved helpful in keeping our faces a little warmer when filming on days of below zero temps with the wind chill! For these women, the act of showing up at the lakefront everyday at sunrise provided a balm for the isolation they were all feeling. They were able to continue their passion for swimming and have a few moments to connect and socialize. For our film crew, the act of showing up every morning to film provided that balm. In the midst of the fear and powerlessness and isolation we all were experiencing, having this quiet moment before dawn watching the sun rise and seeing these amazing women brave the icy waters was life affirming.