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Fleshy, female and forty: A docudrama of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into elite swimming culture


McMahon, J and Zehntner, C and McGannon, K, Fleshy, female and forty: A docudrama of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into elite swimming culture, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 9, (5) pp. 546-553. ISSN 2159-676X (2017) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]


Copyright Statement

2017 Informa UK The attached Word document is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health on 6 July 2017, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/2159676X.2017.1340328


This film is presented in the form of a docudrama, making use of video diaries and other elements of film production to capture the six month journey of a former elite swimmer who re-immersed herself into the elite swimming culture as a 40-year-old woman. Over a six month period, the former swimmer subjected herself to the same training schedule and coaching practices that current Australian elite swimmers are required to undertake, capturing video diaries of her experiences during this time. Her re-immersion in this culture was a conscious decision, undertaken in order for her to identify whether body practices that she was subjected to 16 years earlier were still occurring in the present day. Previous research on elite swimming culture has revealed how body practices which centre on attaining the ideal body for competitive performance cause detrimental effects for swimmers in both the short and also long term. This research provides a first-hand athlete perspective of elite swimming culture in the present day and whether these detrimental ways of approaching the swimmer body for the sake of competitive performance are still occurring. Two parts make up this research. A written section provides a brief overview of body practices in swimming literature and then a case is made for why film, specifically docudrama was the most appropriate method for presenting this research. This is then followed by the 20 minute film. An evocative stance is adopted throughout the docudrama where the audience is invited to draw their own conclusions from the lived experiences presented and whether or not detrimental body practices are still occurring in this culture in the present day.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:film, sport, documentary, body pedagogies, fatness, culture
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Equity and access to education
UTAS Author:McMahon, J (Associate Professor Jennifer McMahon)
UTAS Author:Zehntner, C (Dr Chris Zehntner)
ID Code:117309
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-06-07
Last Modified:2018-12-13
Downloads:11 View Download Statistics

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