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Olympic swimmer trained Hollywood star Daisy Ridley for new film

Olympic swimmer trained Hollywood star Daisy Ridley for new film
Olympic swimmer trained Hollywood star Daisy Ridley for new film

 


ByJoe Lemer,BBC News, BristolCarys Nally,BBC News, West of England

BBC Siobhan-Marie O'Connor sitting on sofa BBC

Olympic silver medalist swimmer Siobhan-Marie O'Connor trained Daisy Ridley for her role in new biopic Young Woman and the Sea.

An Olympic silver medalist swimmer said it was “surreal” to be involved in a new biopic based on the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Siobhan-Marie O'Connor, from Bath, spent six months training actress Daisy Ridley for her role as Trudy Ederle in the film Young Woman and the Sea.

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist and Commonwealth Games champion, Ms O'Connor retired in 2021 after battling ulcerative colitis.

Speaking about the work she did with Ms Ridley, she told BBC Radio Bristol: “If it was something I could continue to do and make a career out of it, I would love it.”

The 28-year-old said she had been “trying to find her feet” away from competitive swimming through private coaching and training, when asked if she could work with Ms Ridley, who is best known for her role in Star Wars.

Ms O'Connor assumed it would be a one-off assessment of the star's swimming abilities, but her involvement in the film “grew and grew”, she said.

“It was an incredible experience.”

Disney Ridley in the water Disney

Ms O'Connor trained Daisy Ridley in a London swimming pool for six months

Follows Young Woman and the Sea The journey of Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle from surviving measles to breaking the genre conventions of the time by entering a swimming pool.

She went on to set world swimming records and win Olympic medals, before swimming the canal in 1926 to become known as the Queen of the Waves.

Ms O’Connor said: “It’s amazing how many people I’ve met who haven’t heard of Trudy’s story.

“I was ashamed as a female athlete, as a swimmer, not knowing what Trudy had accomplished,” she said.

“Her story was kind of lost to history, but she is a trailblazer for female athletes around the world.

“His story is incredible and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

Disney A photo from the film Disney

Daisy Ridley's training ended with nine days of filming in the Black Sea

Ms O'Connor said Ms Ridley's commitment to training was “incredible”.

“In the first session, she wasn't at all comfortable swimming the front crawl – and when you watch the film and see her swimming, you think that's amazing.”

After training in London, the duo traveled to Bulgaria to film in the Black Sea.

She said: “We would train every other day – long sessions to try to build Daisy’s stamina and work on her technique.”

Disney Photo from the film - character facing the seaDisney

Ms O'Connor said Ridley's commitment to training was “amazing”.

Ms. O'Connor's work also led to her making a cameo appearance in the film.

“It was very surreal,” she said. “I am one of the American swimmers who swims with Trudy when she is in New York and at the Paris Olympics.

“It was very cool to experience a film in that way. I still pinch myself that I was involved.”

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