I came across a web forum today talking about how guys used to have to swim nude during gym class, at the Y and when on a swim team.
I was a little shocked because most of the old images you find of swim teams display swimmers partially clothed. I guess this was just for the camera’s eye — and yours. When I was in gym class and on the swim team — we wore bathing suits. I’m still a 20-something though. Apparently many men over the age of 40 have a completely different story to tell.
Along with hundreds of others (around 700 posts so far) — Philip recalled his historical experiences with swimming:
“I grew up always swimming naked at school, at the Y, and on the swim team. This wasn’t a choice, so we didn’t consider it right or wrong. Adults made choices for us all the time. When to go to school, what kind of shoes to wear to church, how to behave at the grocery store. We were accustomed to rules already being in place, and we adapted to them, as kids do everywhere. So nudity in gym class and at the YMCA was an accepted part of a pre-existing system. And as an accepted part of this system, we considered it normal, not sexual. It helped that the gym teachers were also nude. Generally, before class got underway, the teacher would be wrapped in a towel, but once class started, he would hang it over a chair and get in the pool nude with the rest of us. No one thought anything about this. It was completely accepted that swimming was done nude, so we would have thought it strange if he hadn’t swum nude as well. I don’t know when things changed, or why. That happened after I graduated from high school. Nudity among boys in environments such as these – public or private – was never something to be feared or ashamed of. I should add that, because it was pre-accepted, we didn’t have to go through any sort of adaption or acceptance phases. We were free to enjoy it, without guilt or embarrassment. In 11th grade, mine was the last gym class of the day. We often stayed after for another half hour or so, if the swim team wasn’t practicing, and played in the pool naked. I feel bad for kids today who are so ashamed of themselves that something as pleasant and innocent as this is necessarily avoided. We’ve lost a lot.”
My — how things have changed. The forum has been going for over a year now and has over 700 posts. Check it out here if you want more of an interesting perspective on how things used to be.
Finally, I found this swim team photo from years ago. Can you imagine what would happen if something like this was taken in modern day times?