POV: Swim Team

About This Episode


When doctors told Michael and Maria McQuay that their son with autism would never be self-sufficient, the pair responded by seeking out a series of therapies and programs for him. After discovering there was a dearth of suitable public services, they formed their own swim team for children with developmental disabilities. "So many people don't give our kids a chance to do anything," says Maria.

Swim Team follows three diverse young men -- Michael McQuay Jr., Robert Justino and Kelvin Truong -- from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, who fall on the autism spectrum. New Jersey reports the highest rate of autism in the country, with one in 26 boys on the spectrum. On the McQuays' team, the Jersey Hammerheads, these young men find inclusion, independence and space to achieve their loftiest goals.

At its heart, the eye-opening film chronicles the hard work and dedication the Hammerheads undertake to make life work in, and out, of the swimming pool. The Hammerheads feel most comfortable in the pool's fast lane. "When I'm swimming," says Michael McQuay Jr., "I feel normal."