The Water Is My Sky

April 16, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brian Tremml spent four years swimming and studying film at the University of Iowa, and he has never come across a movie that accurately depicts the sport. He wants to change that.

Tremml began filming a feature-length documentary — The Water is My Sky — in March 2013. The film explores the world of elite competitive swimming by following members of the swimming community from the past, present, and future.

“There is clearly interest,” said Tremml, who was a four-year UI letterwinner from 2008-12. “It is one of the most popular sports at the Summer Olympics every four years, there is an audience, and it hasn’t been discussed yet.

“I figured, why not me? Why not us? Why not now?”

Tremml, who is filming the documentary with childhood friend Kiel Nowakowski, says the response has been well-received.

“People are excited to get a movie about swimming. That is one thing that pushed me to make this happen. It has been humbling to see all the notes of encouragement we get on a daily basis.”
Former Hawkeye Brian Tremml

“People are excited to get a movie about swimming,” he said. “That is one thing that pushed me to make this happen. It has been humbling to see all the notes of encouragement we get on a daily basis.”

Tremml was a butterfly and individual medley swimmer during his collegiate career as a Hawkeye. He says those experiences helped push him to produce a movie to display what it meant to him and to a lot of people that devote their lives to the sport.

“Having been a swimmer my whole life and having my career end with four years at the University of Iowa and on the Big Ten stage was a perfect ending for it,” said Tremml. “The last four years brought some of the best memories and perspective to all my years as a swimmer.”

Tremml wants the movie to show the dedication it takes to be a competitive swimmer and how the sport affects its competitors.

“The message I am hoping to convey is the sport of swimming has a tremendous impact on the people that choose to dedicate their lives to it,” he said. “It is an overwhelmingly positive impact. It is a rare sport in the fact that it is a lot of time and energy for very little payoff, and you learn a lot of very important life lessons.”

The film will feature interviews with several prominent members of the swimming community, including 2012 Olympian and three-time individual NCAA champion Connor Jaeger, Connor Dwyer, Rowdy Gaines, and Tom Wilkens.

In an effort to pay for the film, a fundraiser launched April 14 on the website Kickstarter. The goal is to raise $50,000 in one month. It’s all or nothing.

“If we fail to reach our goal, all of the donated money will be returned to the contributors that decided to give during the month period,” said Tremml. “It’s a little risky, but we feel we can hit that goal and all of the money will go directly into funding the rest of the production.”

People wishing to donate can go to the Kickstarter website where a $30 donation will get your name in the credits, a wrist band, and a digital download of the movie when it is released. The rewards go up as the contribution amount increases.

Tremml says the movie is a year and a half to two years off its release date.

“We’re trying to be realistic, movies like this take a long time,” he said. “We’re in the middle of shooting everything now and after that comes post-production. We want to let everyone know we’re making this film and are trying to get people excited.”