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Thread: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

  1. #41
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    My local swim team in Springfield, Mo. worked out at the Boys' Club pool a couple of days a week in the mid to late 60s. I remember the girls had to wait until the coach gave the all clear sign before we entered the pool area because the group ahead of us swam nude. Don't know if that helps . . .

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    To Jumper, re: nude swimming policy at my local Y in the fifties. I do not object to the policy of nudity there but rather that it came as surprise to me. It was traumatizing, even though I only had to watch, not participate. Apparently the parents were only informed about it if their boys were enrolled in a swim class. We were only involved in a Y day camp program and didn't expect to do any swimming. It was hypocritical of them to require only the boys to be nude, but not the camp counselors/lifeguards.,

    I object to the apparent justification of swimming instruction as a tough means to instill character and discipline, unless what is meant by that is coaching
    competitive swimming. Swim lessons should never be taught in that way or for those purposes. It doesn't work for many people. Swimming should be taught for its intrinsic benefits as a healthful activity and as a way to promote safety. The author's inference is that it is, or should be, good training for entering the military.

  3. #43
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Definately not an urban legend. I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo. We had to swim nude during my junior high years (late 70s-early 80s). I remember swimming nude my first year in high school (1981), but I can't remember after that. It wasn't a big deal--we all had to do it.

  4. #44
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Lansing Michigan:
    Swimming was mandatory in Jr. High 1970-1973 we swam nude. Very awkward as kids hit puberty at different times. Most kids showered with both hands covering themselves. The term "baldie' was used referring to the kids slower to mature. I don't remember if we had suits in SR. High.
    Hard to believe, but at the same time our teachers all had paddles and spanked us with them. I remember a gym teacher drawing blood with a paddleball paddle, and a shop teacher breaking a paddle over a kids backside.
    I'm not sure about the swim team (i played hockey).

  5. #45
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Some say that I am swimming in the nude when I wear my new Nada swim suit.

    The YMCA in Hamilton only allowed nude swimmers in their pools in the old days. When we were kids we would gather at the pool entry. We would take peaks through the door when the girls had their lessons and left before. Then the boys could enter the pool after the all clear was given.
    Keep it simple George Park
    Swimsuit Sale http://www.swimdownhill.com/index.html

  6. #46
    Very Active Member scyfreestyler's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by water-ratt View Post
    Lansing Michigan:
    Swimming was mandatory in Jr. High 1970-1973 we swam nude. Very awkward as kids hit puberty at different times. Most kids showered with both hands covering themselves. The term "baldie' was used referring to the kids slower to mature. I don't remember if we had suits in SR. High.
    Hard to believe, but at the same time our teachers all had paddles and spanked us with them. I remember a gym teacher drawing blood with a paddleball paddle, and a shop teacher breaking a paddle over a kids backside.
    I'm not sure about the swim team (i played hockey).

    Wow.
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  7. #47
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by water-ratt View Post
    Lansing Michigan
    I grew up in Lansing, too. I'm a little younger than you, though. Was in Jr. High in the early '80s (Otto). We didn't swim nude, but I still remember the kids who covered themselves with their hands when showering in gym class, so it least that part hadn't changed!

  8. #48
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    My experience in junior high school in Wisconsin in the early 70's was as Jumper relates in his post. I remember looking forward to the swimming segment of gym class, because we didn't swim in elementary school. Although I was little surprised the first day, all the boys were expected to swim without suits. It was no big deal. Except for the chubby kids, there was no shame in stripping naked in front of your friends and there was certainly nothing sexual about it. It was what is was and no one seemed to give it second thought. Times were different.

    I was in scouts at that the same time and swam at summer camp, but always wearing a suit. We moved to a suburban school district in 1973 where I attended H.S. The PE program there was apparently better funded and they provided heavy nylon Dolphin suits for boys who wanted them. Unless you were the first class of the day, the suits were wet and "gross" and most guys did not to wear them.

  9. #49
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Is this where we are going with the ban on tech suits?

  10. #50
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by orca1946 View Post
    Is this where we are going with the ban on tech suits?
    And, if so, no more co-ed meets?
    ..... Where, Oh, where did I last see my swimming suit? Oh well!

  11. #51
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I grew up in Illinois, Rockford, where boys were required to swim nude in swim class the years I was there, 1962-1967.
    I hated, despised, loathed and detested it. The girls,of course, little flowers that they were, were allowed suits in their classes. Which fact made me absolutely seethe with rage.
    It was as you've heard in most other accounts; boys only, nude, male teachers in suits. That also annoyed me--if I were to be thus humiliated, why not him? No, I didn't protest. What was the point? In those days, no one listened. Especially not to a boy who might feel humiliated at his public nudity. We were supposed to suck it up and get on with it and above all, shut up. It was the American educational system at its best, producing bovine little worker/consumer units. And nice docile cannon fodder for LBJ's dreams of a commie free Asia.
    I don't really know which effect it had on behavior. There are those who claim the whole thing was intended as disciplinary tool, to keep other wise boisterous boys in line. It's hard to engage in horse play while blushing from head to foot. And in general, I think there was less bullying and rough housing in swimming than in gym.
    I never saw any females around, although the knowledge that they were just on the other side of the (I hoped) locked door marked "Girls Locker Room" was enough to scare the snot out of me. I only remember one woman, the school nurse, casually sauntering into a pool full of naked boys--as though it never occurred to her we might be the slightest bit embarrassed--to inspect our feet. Still I don't doubt the stories of female coaches and spectators. For whatever reason, we, our humiliation and embarrassment, were presumed not to matter; and girls, for what ever reason, did. I knew a woman in college (1973) who claimed she had spent her summer vacation as a lifeguard in a YMCA (I think it was in Indianapolis, but no sure) where the boys and men swam nude. We thought she was exaggerating,but she claimed they were bare ass buck nekkid. It wasn't till years later, when I started reading posts like these, that I realized she was telling the truth.
    As for a reason. We weren't given one. It was the tenor of the times; you didn't ask because they wouldn't tell anyway. Our parents were the World War II generation, and they tried to instill in us a deference to authority. As the youth movement of the sixties proved, it didn't work. The only explanations I've ever heard for this have more holes than a hunk of swiss cheese. One of your posters here gave the most lucid explanation--it began when only boys and men swam, and the filters could get clogged, so they swam sans suits. But why, in the 50s-70s did it persist? Probably for the most obvious reason--no one though to change it.
    My experience may not have been typical, though I have been surprised to find how many others disliked it and found it humiliating. I know this--my last nude swim class was 42 years ago, and I'm still mad about it.
    It turned me into a non swimmer.

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I just stumbled on to this topic and joined USMS just to respond to it. I grew up in Utah in the 1960s. In jr. high, if you showed up to swim class without a suit, you swam nude. It was not required to swim nude, but not having a suit was no excuse not to swim. The PE teachers were male (as I am), the classes were male and spectators were not allowed. The coach and other students wore suits. I do recall that near the end of the year, 3 or 4 of us dared each other to "forget" our suits one day. The interesting thing is that all of us "forgot" and swam nude. I heard rumors that the girls' PE class was the same way, but no one confirmed it. I was not traumatized by this experience, and to my knowledge, none of the other students were, either. In high school, I swam on the swim team and I don't recall any nude swimming in practice, even though there was no girls' swim team at the time.

  13. #53
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    In Chicago YMCAs swimming au naturel was practiced until
    about 1969 or 1970. Every school with a swimming pool still
    required boys to swim nude until about 1980 or so.
    In fact, boys were free to wear brief racing suits (mark spitz type)
    or swim jocks if they so desire. Only a few did so, either boys from a super religious family or guys who had a scar from hernia surgery.
    Conversely, many boys were so used to being bare in the pool that they continued to swim nude even after tank suits became the norm.
    Girls wore navy blue racing one-pieces, and swim classes were segregated. The teams practiced in drag suits, but "after hours" nude swims were for team bonding.
    Overall, it was not really a big deal. High school boys had to wear supporters for gym and shower after gym. Most boys voluntarily took gang showers after football, wrestling, basketball, track, etc. Nudity in the pool was a logical extension of group showers-it was a normal thing.
    We live in an age now when 30 year old men will shower in gym shorts so as to avoid being nude in front of other males.
    The past was not better or worse, but different.
    I was bi- about 70% ac and 30% dc. I loved the muscularity of some of my classmates, but not in a prurient way.
    Talk to old time coaches who actually supervised nude p e swimming.

  14. #54
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    The comments pretty much dispel the notion that this is an urban legend. I was in high school in the Chicago suburbs from 1957 to 1961. We had what was arguably the best high school swimming team ever assembled with a legendary coach. We spent the 4 years I was there training naked. We had a large pool and each workout session accommodated 40 or 50 kids. No lane lines in those day but we did swim in circles and it was pretty close quarters. We did get dressed for the meets.

    The reason given for swimming nude was hygine. Our coach required a full soap shower including walking through a disinfectant for your feet before you could even think about entering the pool area. We were curious about the practice but never really questioned it. The sessions were closed so it was just the team and the coaches. While there was no girls competitive swimming in those days. when women used the pools they wore suits and any coed activities allowed boys to be suited.

    One of our coaches practical jokes was to open the locker room door just before the girls exited the pool. We would make our modest dash for the cover of the water and think we had done something quite daring and risque. Any sensibilities that there was something unnatural about swimming nude or the concept of gayness were non-existent in our innocent world.

    A discussion of swimming nude seems particularly appropriate at a time when FINA is doing away with swim suits.

  15. #55
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan which always had a tradition of requiring nude swimming classes at all of the public and private schools for all of the boys. Everyone knew about it, and the reason was to keep the water clean. Swim suits could get moldy if we threw them wet into our small lockers and the cost of requiring the school to run a laundry service to wash and dry them was thought to be too expensive at the time. The boy's swim classes were always required to be held nude. The girls were required to wear a swim suit and the school had built a special drying room to dry the girl's swim suits. The boy's were required also to take a soap shower before swim classes. until about 1980, when suddenly, without any apparent explanation, the classes were then required to be co-ed and swim suits were always required.
    One of the city's oldest elementary schools, I forget the exact name, (OXFORD?) was build around 1920 and always required the boys to swim without swim suits. It was torn down about 30 years ago. Since Dearborn, Michigan is the world head quarters of FORD MOTOR COMPANY, it had a large tax base and could afford to have swimming pools at all of the junior high schools and all of the high schools in the city. Even the local private Catholic High School had a swimming pool and required the boys to swim without any swim suits on the swim team and in all boy's swim classes. We also developed some of the best competitive swimmers in the state. As far as the public viewing our swim meets, we always wore swim suits during the swim meets. The girls were required to wear swim suits and alternated using the swimming pool with the boys every other week.

    It seems the natural progression of things could have eaisly been to require all of the girls also to swim nude, so as not to clog up the filters of the pool and promote hygiene.

    Somehow, it seems to have become some sort of discrimination issue that the girls are now required legally to always swim at the same time, in the same pool as the boys, and it is now actually illegal for anyone to swim nude, nationwide! (We already know this, but who could have predicted this when I was in school?) We have boy's basketball teams, boy's football teams, boy's tennis teams, and so on so the whole thing to me does not make any sense that the swim classes and swim teams are always required by the force of national law to be co ed. Why a practice that have been so common for decades, even hundreds of years suddenly came to an abrupt end nationwide in the late 1970's is still a suprise to me even today. I have not been able to find any nude swim practices or swim teams since I left high school in 1975. Does this answer your question?

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I grew up in Texas and went to high school in the late 70s/early 80s. I was on the guys’ swim team, and since my high school did not have a swimming pool of its own, we practiced at a private men’s athletics club. I don’t know the specifics about the arrangement between the school and the club, and I don’t recall where the girls’ team practiced. The club was exclusively male and allowed nude swimming, and most of the members swam without wearing suits. Since we practiced there, we had the same option, and we all swam nude, including our coach. No one was forced to swim nude, certainly, but I suspect some of the more bashful guys on the team may have succumbed to peer pressure. There were no spectators, other than for occasional club members also using the pool area. We were supervised by an adult, of course, so there was no serious bullying or misbehavior, although I would be lying to deny that there was a little horsing around, mostly good natured. Since competitive swimmers are usually lean, no one on the team was embarrassed about or made fun of for being overweight. Guys being guys and all, I recall there being a fair amount of visual comparison / observation of the relative sizes of our goods, so to speak, but nothing unnatural and certainly not overtly sexual. Some of the guys may have felt some resulting embarrassment, but no one was subject to cruelty. I personally enjoyed swimming nude and thought it was fun and uninhibited, and I think most of us felt that way about it.

  17. #57
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Remember when swimmers actually showered before getting into the pool? Now , it's all sweaty & grungy !

  18. #58
    Very Active Member Dolphin 2's Avatar
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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    Quote Originally Posted by h2opolo1976 View Post
    In Chicago YMCAs swimming au naturel was practiced until
    about 1969 or 1970. Every school with a swimming pool still
    required boys to swim nude until about 1980 or so.
    In fact, boys were free to wear brief racing suits (mark spitz type)
    or swim jocks if they so desire. Only a few did so, either boys from a super religious family or guys who had a scar from hernia surgery.
    Conversely, many boys were so used to being bare in the pool that they continued to swim nude even after tank suits became the norm.
    Girls wore navy blue racing one-pieces, and swim classes were segregated. The teams practiced in drag suits, but "after hours" nude swims were for team bonding.
    Overall, it was not really a big deal. High school boys had to wear supporters for gym and shower after gym. Most boys voluntarily took gang showers after football, wrestling, basketball, track, etc. Nudity in the pool was a logical extension of group showers-it was a normal thing.
    We live in an age now when 30 year old men will shower in gym shorts so as to avoid being nude in front of other males.
    The past was not better or worse, but different.
    I was bi- about 70% ac and 30% dc. I loved the muscularity of some of my classmates, but not in a prurient way.
    Talk to old time coaches who actually supervised nude p e swimming.
    Actually, Japan has a very well preserved ritual of communal bathing "Au Natural" and probably the same thing goes for swimming in same gender PE classes too. The idea is that swimming in an indoor pool is the most comfortable with minimal body coverage.

    However, the only problem I see with complete nudity is that if guys are expected to do any vigorous swimming, they need to have an "athletic supporter" -and I'm not referring to someone who helps sponsor the school's sports department.
    Cheers
    Dolphin 2
    Last edited by Dolphin 2; September 9th, 2009 at 11:49 AM.

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    Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I may be a little late to this post, but I recalled the boys' swimming class I took in Junior High in Virginia, Minnesota (both the Junior and Senior Highs had indoor pools; schools were fairly lavish because of taxes on local iron mines) where we were required to swim naked. I'm not sure when the practice ended, and I attended Junior High from 1968-1971.

    Boys from all three grades (7th-9th) were in the same class, and there were (required) gang showers (with no supervision) prior to swim class. Boys who were on the swim team were allowed to wear suits, those who were not on the team swam naked. Girls, who, of course, had separate classes, did not swim nude; they were required to wear suits provided by the school. Instructors also wore suits.

    We did object, and asked the obvious questions--why swim team folks could wear suits, and why girls wore suits. We were told that it was for hygenic reasons, which, of course, made no sense. My parents were not particularly interested in the issue; they were of the "follow the rules and don't make any waves" viewpoint.

    There was pretty good security in the pool; I don't recall ever hearing that a female (student or staff) ever looked in to these classes. The "hoodlums" in the class, of course, created somewhat of a nightmare for younger, less mature, adolescents; they could be unmerciful in their harrassment of vulnerable people, and the school made no effort to police what was going on in the locker rooms or showers. All and all I remember the classes as a time of dread; fortunately, I was a good swimmer, and harrassment by idiots could be met with the panic that goes along with pulling some idiot under water for 30 seconds.

    I'm not sure if there would have been more or less bullying if we had been wearing suits, but I think the nature of the bullying--which was, at times, overtly sexual--would have been different. Bullying seemed to be related to a lack of adult supervision, rather than nudity.

    No public spectators ever. Swim team members, as noted, got to wear their suits (this was somehow a privilege, a reward for being on the swim team, which suggested to the rest of us that being naked was akin to being punished). No members of the public were ever allowed to view us, and we never had female substitutes.

    All in all it was a pretty bizarre practice. I remember kids getting their doctors to make up a medical excuse to they could avoid swimming completely.

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    Smile Re: Requesting Info About Nude Swim Class

    I learned to swim at the Y in Ohio in 1953 at the age of 10. All swimming was nude in those days, since the Ys were all-male. Shower was mandatory before swimming and the pool was kept clean and sparkling. All the men and boys were nude and thought nothing of it - this practice was considered normal and natural, which it is.
    Likewise, at most of the all-male clubs, such as the Elks, and the other all-male athletic and fraternal organizations the pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna were all clothing-optional. I must say the clubs were a lot more healthful and sanitary than they are today, when many people, male and female, jump right in the pool without even taking a shower before!
    In view of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria going around, the shower-first rule should be enforced. Who wants to swim in filthy water?
    Nowadays the only place to swim in the nude is at naturist resorts or public nude beaches, which can be a hassle. Someone should estasblish a nationwide chain of men's athletic clubs, where unsanitary suits and sweaty clothes are not allowed - I believe a lot of healthy, athletic men would welcome such a facility. (The fussy femmes would probably whine about "discrimination", but they have their own clubs also.)
    At any rate, I will always remember the old Y and Elks clubs fondly - they were great places to keep healthy and stay in shape, and they helped many a young man to build a strong physical foundation for later life.

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