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Thread: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

  1. #1
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    Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    First, I am not a Masters swimmer, please forgive me for intruding in your forum. I am trying to gather information for a public access TV program I would like to make about the old practice of requiring boys to swim nude in gym class. Apparently this was standard procedure in many midwest and northeast states.

    I never knew about this until recently, and it seems like good illustration of the ways that social customs can change radically in a generation or two.

    There is an extremely long discussion about this at
    http://www.topix.com/forum/education/TID0DQ0GJR34GB55G
    that has some good information, but unfortunately it seems that a lot of the posters on that thread are just amusing themselves by writing fiction.

    If anyone has any first hand experiences that they would like to share, please let me know. The questions I have are:

    Did you object to swimming nude? Did you voice your objection, and if so, what was the response?

    Did the school protect your privacy from female staff and students?

    Do you believe there was more bullying and misbehavior because of the nudity, or less?

    Did the swim team practice nude, and if so were spectators allowed? One of the posters on the Topix thread says he refused to swim on the team because they practiced nude and did not close the practices to spectators.

    Were there ever female substitute teachers? Sounds preposterous, but some posters claim there were. I guess it could be possible.

    If you would like to share your experiences, let me know and I will post my email address.

    I am located in Portland OR. If you are willing to appear in the program it would probably be a telephone interview unless you happen to live in the Portland area.

    Again, I hope I am not disturbing you too much by posting in your forum, and if you happen to know a better place for me to post this request, please let me know.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    To get in practice in a 25 yd pool(our high school had a 20 yd pool) our high school team(Tulsa,OK) practiced a couple of times at the YMCA pool which had a no suit policy at sometimes.There were no women in the building at these times.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Hi!

    I have been a P.E. teacher in the midwest since 1979, I have been the swimming teacher at the high school too. I feel confident in saying any professional educator who allowed anything like this to happen would be fired, stripped of their teaching license, and taken to court for sexual misconduct with minors. (probably sent to prison)
    I think whatever you are talking about is some kind of urban legend.
    I do recall a skinny dipper in college who used to sneak into the pool after we closed it down(I was a lifeguard). We shut down and hid a couple of times in an effort to catch him, but he was just to quick for us!
    So.....the jig is up and you can stop your crazy research!

  4. #4
    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    From Wikipedia - and it aligns with my understanding back before nylon swimwear was generally available.

    Before the YMCA began to admit females in the early 1960s, swimming trunks were not even allowed in the pools and high school swimming classes for boys sometimes had similar policies, citing the impracticality of providing and maintaining sanitary swimming gear and clogging swimming pools' filtration systems with lint fibers from the swimsuits. These practices were common because of the perception that there was nothing wrong or sexual about seeing members of the same gender in the nude, especially in these indoor contexts among equals in 'birthday suit uniform'.

    From my alma mater's website, complete with photo:
    http://www.iastate.edu/Inside/2008/0201/swim.shtml

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    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    That's amazing!

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    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator View Post
    Hi!

    I have been a P.E. teacher in the midwest since 1979, I have been the swimming teacher at the high school too. I feel confident in saying any professional educator who allowed anything like this to happen would be fired, stripped of their teaching license, and taken to court for sexual misconduct with minors. (probably sent to prison)
    I think whatever you are talking about is some kind of urban legend.
    !
    not urban legend. this was the standard practice at my high school for those through my fathers generation, though i'm not exactly sure when it was phased out. by the time i attended, about 80% of the student body had "medical deferments" from participating in swim class.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Famous Midwestern University had a suit-optional swimming hour for men until sometime in the 80s. No women (lifeguards, spouses, etc.). I would expect that the practice did not appear out of the blue at university level but had an earlier precedent at younger school ages.

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Definitely not an urban legend. I went to a New York City high school in the late 1960's. Nude swim classes for boys were the rule as of my sophomore year (girls wore suits). I believe it ended during my junior year (1967).

    The classes were strictly one sex. The teachers were always the same sex as the students and no spectators were allowed.

    Nude swimming was only the rule for P.E. class, though. The swim team wore suits in practice and meets (not surprisingly, this was a big selling point for joining the team, since team members were exempt from swim classes).

    And yes, the students did complain (this was the 60's after all), which was why the city ended the practice.

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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    not urban legend. this was the standard practice at my high school for those through my fathers generation, though i'm not exactly sure when it was phased out. by the time i attended, about 80% of the student body had "medical deferments" from participating in swim class.
    I indeed had one of those medical deferments--something about having an "innie" and the psychological impact of being around my more equine-like peers.

    Good luck with your research...this might be a tough project as I am sure anybody forced to swim naked in PE class has some serious emotional trauma unless they were above average.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    A friend of mine is a member of the Milwaukee Athletic Club and they have separate pools for men and women. Men swim nude in their pool. At least this was the case a few years ago when he told me, so the custom ain't dead yet!

    What's the big deal, really? Just look out for the guy in the next lane with the really wide backstroke pull

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Peter Cruise's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    In my early years I belonged to the "Flying Y" swim team. Boys swam nude for their workout, then left while girls, in suits, worked out with the same male coaches we had. The old racing starts <SMACK!> were particularly bothersome to practice. Anyway, the pool was 20yards, so we moved on to public pools and our Jantzen wooly suits.
    Life keeps throwing curve balls; the trick, I'm learning, is to duck...

  12. #12
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Cruise View Post
    our Jantzen wooly suits.
    hmmm, maybe nude swim practice wasn't so bad after all?

  13. #13
    Very Active Member gigi's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    The downtown Y in my city had nude swimming until the 70's when the facility started allowing girls. I remember listening to the old codgers complaining bitterly about how we girls ruined their lives by infiltrating their club. I never went to a HS with a pool so I can't address the school aspect of it.

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    A friend of mine in California belonged to a women only gym where swimsuits were optional in the pool.

  15. #15
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by LonghornbackinTX View Post
    A friend of mine in California belonged to a women only gym where swimsuits were optional in the pool.
    i think i should help dean gather information for this public access tv program.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member gigi's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    When I got off line last night I asked my husband about this because he went to private schools and nothing that happens in private schools would surprise me in the slightest. He went to an all-boys school in town for junior high and they had nude swimming when they went to the pool. They had lessons and free swim. The only women at the school worked in the dean's office and never went to the pool. He says nobody thought anything of it - it's just how it was done in those days and it never occurred to him to say anything about it one way or the other. He's 52 and he was at this school at the end of the 60's.

    Times change, eh?

  17. #17
    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    A good friend of mine from the Upper Midwest told me it was nude swim at his high school in the 70s. I thought he was kidding, guess not.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member Hoosier's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    A good friend of mine...now deceased...told me of growing up in Cinncinnati in the 50's. Said that their school had a pool, everyone swam nude. The rotation was this, Monday and Tuesday, girls.....Wed and Thursday, boys. Fridays were for all the black kids. They then drained the pool, cleaned it out refilled for Monday....swore it was the truth.
    God Bless America

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    YES, in the early 60's @ a local HS, we did! Yes clod water syndrome is true!!

  20. #20
    Very Active Member fanstone's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    All boys Prep School, 1966-68, Chattanooga. No naked (necked is how they pronounce it) swimming ever. During regular year, uniforms at all times. Only exception was Friday, Saturday nights and Sunday mornings when we could use a school blazer. Always had ties on. Summer school allowed shorts, but no jeans. Jeans in those days were considered risqué or whatever. I have been naked in a spa in Europe, steam and dry heat areas, swimming gear used in pool, because of hygiene reasons. Felt funny and I was slightly uncomfortable. I guess it is a cultural thing.

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