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Jim Ellis, the only swim coach with a Hollywood film produced about his life




In the SwimSwam podcast, dive deeper into the sport you love with insider swimming conversations. Hosted byColeman hodges,Garrett mccaffrey, andGold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming you already know and the rising stars you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present and future of water sports.

Jim ellis, RDP Head Coach and Chairman of the Board joins the SwimSwam podcast. This conversation was truly a joy and an honor. Jims has coached for over 50 years, producing elite swimmers over the past five decades. He is part of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame of the International Association of Swimming Coaches. USA Swimming named him one of the 30 Most Influential People in Sport. Finally, in this list of accolades, Jim is the only swimming trainer to have been the subject of a major Hollywood feature film, PRIDE, released in 2007.

Jim Ellis formed the Philadelphia Department of Recreation (PDR) swim team in 1971, which was the first African-American swim team in the United States. I was an age group in the 1970s, and by the 1980s I was close to elite status. I only knew Jim by reputation. I didn’t know he was black. (Also, I didn’t know Jim’s story until I saw his movie). I only knew his swimmers were elites you wanted to compete against.

In this podcast, Jim shares what was not in PRIDE, his feature film. No disrespect to the filmmakers, but there was no way to include all of Jim’s success in two hours. There has to be a recurring Netflix series to unbox it all. We do our best in this podcast to delve into Jim’s story and those finer details. I hope you like it.

Pictured with Jim, my friend, Trevor Freehand. Trevors portrayed in the movie PRIDE, and Trevors’ brother. Tracy Freehand, is the current head coach of PDR Many thanks to Trevor, who helped me prepare this podcast, providing the PDR story unearthed.


Music: Otis McDonald


The opinions, beliefs and views of interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of Hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and / or SwimSwam’s advertising partners.




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