“Swim Tuff: How I Swam My Way Out of the Bottle” Set to Premiere in a Private Screening in Newport, RI on August 1st at The Jane Pickens Theater.
Documentary on marathon swimmer Ben Tuff aims to inspire anyone to take action
In 2019 COA Board President, Ben Tuff, swam from Block Island to Jamestown and in 2022 swam from Providence to Jamestown and raised over $158k for the organization.
“Swim Tuff: How I Swam My Way Out of the Bottle” is a 50-minute documentary showcasing one man’s one-day 24-mile journey through the open waters of Narragansett Bay, and his 10-year journey of sobriety. Watch the Swim Tuff trailer here.
While Ben Tuff, 42, spent his summers in Jamestown, Rhode Island, he never really learned how to swim until he quit drinking at age 32 and his sponsor suggested he try competing in triathlon to add challenge, discipline, structure, and accountability into his routine. Day by day, Ben learned how to swim and how to incorporate the fundamental principles of character that would define his newly sober life. He began excelling in triathlon while teaching middle school in Connecticut, but discovered the swimming part was his true passion—and could be a way to help protect the body of water he had known all his life.
As “Swim Tuff” recounts, Ben first decided to raise money for Clean Ocean Access by swimming around the island of Jamestown, a 23-mile effort that raised $54,094 in 2019. The following summer, Ben braved the open, shark-infested waters of the Atlantic Ocean by making the 19-mile crossing from Block Island to Jamestown in 9 hours and 19 minutes, raising $104,136 for Clean Ocean Access.
“Ben Tuff is truly one of a kind. His passion for family, friends, and the causes he believes in is unrivaled. We are so fortunate to have Ben as our Board President at Clean Ocean Access. A supportive Board President is a gift to any nonprofit organization, but one who goes above and beyond to bring awareness, support, and engagement to an organization in the way that Ben did is truly a gift. He is a champion for our mission and brings our vision of A Clean, Healthy Ocean that is Accessible to All to life”, says Pam Cook, Executive Director.
Ben’s 2022 swim, from Providence to Jamestown, is the setting of “Swim Tuff,” a gripping documentary filmed by Matthew Corliss, who helped create “The Social Dilemma,” “Chasing Coral,” and “Chasing Ice,” among other award-winning films. Corliss states: “Making Swim Tuff was unlike making any other film I’ve made. The sheer scale of one person swimming as far as Ben swam, the people surrounding Ben and the preparation for such a day were nothing short of incredible. People are capable of so much, and it’s especially inspiring to see those capabilities manifest after such a long battle with alcoholism.”
More than a story of a swim, the movie is the story of courage, of family, of friendship, and of the limitless possibilities that open up when a person finds the true freedom of a sober life. Part of Ben’s mission in sharing “Swim Tuff” with audiences worldwide is to destigmatize addiction, but he also emphasizes that this film is for anyone looking to make a change and an impact.
The vulnerability and the mindset of a single man swimming for just under fifteen hours against the tide and against the wind is amplified by insightful and playful interludes with his family and his support team, including coach Dave Martin, wife Gretchen, captain Alex Perkins, and stand-up paddleboarder Jake Linley, who accompanies Ben stroke for stroke.
The profound parallels between Ben’s recovery and Ben’s swims give “Swim Tuff” a unique message bound to resonate with audiences everywhere. says Ben. “It’s progress, not perfection. Just like in recovery, you’re going to hit some walls, you’re going to go backwards sometimes. I often introduce myself as Ben Tuff, the happiest alcoholic alive, because if it weren’t for my alcoholism, I wouldn’t have what I have today”, says Ben.
“Swim Tuff” will have a private screening this summer in Newport at The Jane Pickens Theatre on August 1st at 7 PM with a Q&A at 8:15 PM. The ticket price is $25 per person and will be a direct donation to Clean Ocean Access. Link to ticket sales.