Swim team traditions

Molly Wagschal, Staff Writer

After each 6 a.m. swim practice, the parents of the swimmers provide a full breakfast for the team. This is only one special swimming tradition that juniors Wyeth Michaelsen and Emily Long, members of the swim team, described.

Michaelsen mentioned that for every home meet, everyone on the team dresses formally, and for all away meets they wear team shirts and the signature purple-and-white candy striped pants, which over the years have become synonymous with the swim team. The team also eats dinner together before Sectionals.

In addition to traditions for everyone on the team, there are also traditions that are divided up by gender, such as the boys’ yearly bleaching of their hair, which Michaelsen referred to as “probably the biggest one.”

After the annual North-South meet, the boys on the team go to Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream, a local restaurant, and order “The Big Ugly,” which is a one pound hamburger. After leaving the restaurant, each member bleaches his hair completely.

In a few weeks, the Sectional meet comes around, and the day before, the boys shave their hair in “crazy patterns” to show off at school. Then, the night before Sectionals, they shave the remaining hair off their heads, in addition to all the hair on “the rest of [their] bodies,” according to Michaelsen.

In addition to the hair-related rituals, the boys  partake in a scavenger hunt all over Bloomington at the beginning of each season in the fall. “It’s definitely a team bonding activity,” Michaelsen said.

In contrast, the girls on the swim team have “not as many traditions as the guys,” according to Long.

Long, who has been on the team for her three years of high school, said that at the beginning of each swim season, all the girls paint their individual lockers in the special swimming locker room.

She also mentioned that, since the boys and girls competition seasons are slightly different, the girls dress up to go watch and cheer on the boys swim in their sectionals, and vice versa. Last year, the girls dressed up as Disney characters and the boys dressed up as mimes.