‘Against the Tides’ – film portrays Ocean’s Seven attempt

26th April, 2019

Feature documentary Against the Tides charts Beth French’s attempt to swim the world’s seven most dangerous sea channels in a single year, while managing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and life as a single parent.

“Swimming was the only activity that gave me peace and even when I was ill, I could float, so it was the natural arena to push myself in,” said Beth, who was wheelchair-bound as a teenager as a result of CFS.

Beth set out to test her limits, but also to prove to her son what can be achieved with the right mindset. “Could I recover from one channel in time to swim the next, and complete the list in a single year? It was a personal quest, one inspired by my son Dylan, who is autistic,” explained Beth. “I wanted to show him you can overcome any and all diagnoses and limitations,” she said.

The Ocean’s Seven challenge was conceived as the swimming counterpart to the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. It includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. To date, only around fifteen swimmers have completed it.

BAFTA-nominated, award-winning filmmaker Stefan Stuckert followed Beth throughout her attempt. Against the Tides shows Beth planning and executing her channel swims, while balancing the needs of her son. It culminates in what the film’s website describes as “an unpredictable and emotional climax”.

Beth described watching the film as “incredibly moving and emotional”.  “It’s not just a swimming story, a parenting story, a health story,” she said, “it’s about finding faith in yourself, finding your place in the world that gives you the time and space to reach into your depths and find whatever you need from within.”

Liz Lowe

Against the Tides is released in May. Book tickets or set up your own screening here and view the trailer here.

Read more about Beth French here or find her on Instagram or Facebook: @bethfrenchlives

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