Jim Ellis - Swim Coach
Jim Ellis' story is testimony to the power of dreams and their ability to inspire and transform human life.
Ellis founded the P.D.R. (Philadelphia Department of Recreation) Swim Team, based at the Marcus Foster Recreation Center in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia, in 1971. Today it is the city's nationally recognized competitive swim team, the nation's best predominately African-American team, and has become a model for urban swim programs around the country.
Over the past 35 years, Ellis has been introducing competitive swimming to inner city youth and their families. His coaching has provided a healthy and stimulating environment in which the young athletes can grow and compete. It also brings together families from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Through travel to various competitions, the sport exposes swimmers to other parts of the country and different lifestyles.
Ellis is the subject of the upcoming film PRIDE, which tells the story of a swim coach and youth mentor who built a successful swimming program in one of Philly's most impoverished neighborhoods in the 1970s. When Ellis founded the P.D.R. swim team in 1971, it was a time when the lives of young African-American teens in Philadelphia were often full of hardship and prejudice. The film shows this uplifting and soulful story of Ellis' journey that pulled together a group of troubled inner-city kids, made them into a dedicated team, and taught them how to overcome adversity through hard word and determination. Jim Ellis taught his P.D.R. swimmers more than just how to compete in the water; he taught them important and life-changing lessons that would prepare them for a better future. But through this emotional journey, Coach Ellis also discovers his team has a lot to teach him as well. PRIDE stars recent OscarĀ® nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Crash, Ray), popular comedian turned actor Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show, Kings of Comedy, Ocean's Eleven), and Kimberly Elise (star of CBS series Close to Home).
As a real-life role model, Ellis' story strikes a chord with all types of audiences. Coach Ellis is a loveable storyteller whose inspiring true-to-life story captivates and motivates audiences to always remember the influential power of one person.
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