NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — While they may look like an ordinary swim team, one group of New Jersey swimmers are anything but ordinary.
Mike McQuay is the coach of the New Jersey Hammerheads, a team entirely composed of swimmers who have autism.
The team is based in Perth Amboy which has one of the highest rates of autism – 1 in 26 boys.
McQuay started the team for his autistic son Mikey after seeing how the sport positively affected his life and development.
“See where he’s at now, he wasn’t supposed to talk, walk, change his own pants, eat,” McQuay told 1010 WINS’ Marc Ernay.
Three swimmers from the team let cameras follow them for two years for the documentary, “Swim Team.”
The film shows the challenges of training for the Special Olympics while exposing the challenges of having autism.
“I’m not like other teenagers, I’m autistic, when I’m swimming I feel normal,” said Mikey.
Filmmaker Lara Stolman says she was inspired to create the film because one of her kids is on the autism spectrum.
“I was looking for swimming lessons for my son and I was inspired by them,” Stolman said.
The team isn’t just about swimming. McQuay has made it a resource for parents to work through the challenges of raising a child with autism together.