Fleshy, female and forty: a docudrama of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into elite swimming culture
McMahon, J, Zehntner, C & McGannon, KR 2017, 'Fleshy, female and forty: a docudrama of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into elite swimming culture', Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 546-553.
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This film is presented as a docudrama, where video diaries and other elements of film production capture the six-month journey of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into an elite swimming culture as a 40-year-old woman. Over a six-month period, the former swimmer subjected herself to the same training schedule and coaching practices that current Australian elite swimmers undertake, capturing video diaries of her experiences during this time. Her re-immersion in this culture was a conscious decision, undertaken in order for her to identify whether body practices that she was subjected to 16 years earlier were still occurring in the present day. Previous research on elite swimming culture has revealed how body practices which centre on attaining the ideal body for competitive performance cause detrimental effects for swimmers in both the short and also long term. This research provides a first-hand athlete perspective of elite swimming culture in the present day and whether these detrimental ways of approaching the swimmer body for the sake of competitive performance are still occurring. Two parts make up this research which include a brief written section which accompanies a 25-minute film. An evocative stance is adopted throughout the research where the audience is invited to draw their own conclusions from the lived experiences presented and whether or not detrimental body practices are still occurring in this culture in the present day.