The tortured explanation seemed to, er, satisfy the coaches who had to keep watch! Apparently, requiring that boys swim nude when segregated from girls in both public and school swimming pools was very common across the U. I find it surprising that naked swimming in school pools was that widespread, was tolerated in the uptight '50s and is almost never depicted or referred to in movies or books. I also never, ever heard of it when I was in high school myself, just a few years later than the time when it was common WBEZ The country
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Apparently, in , as part of a freshman requirement for the city college he attended, all male students took a swim class at the YMCA. He remembers the instructor telling them something about it being more sanitary that way. Was his swim teacher some pervy old dude? Or was this requirement legit? And if it was, why? How would not wearing a bathing suit be any less sanitary than skinny-dipping? He chuckled.
Swimming naked in gym class really happened
Driving without seat belts. Smoking while pregnant. Voting for Nixon. Let that little thought nugget sink into your head for a second or two. In school? In broad daylight. Whenever you had gym. Then it was up a few steps, through a passageway, straddling a pipe that squirted water at your crotch, to the pool diving off the blocks for a race or sitting along the cold tile ledge waiting for your turn.
The origins of nude swimming can be found well before the guideline was published. When the first indoor pool opened at the Brooklyn YMCA in , the organization required men and boys to swim naked. Other reasons given by administrators during the era included concerns about the expense of bathing suits, newspaper articles of the time indicate. Others in favor of naked swimming said the practice prepared boys for adulthood. Many places adopted the practice before the decree. The same publication in featured a photograph of nude boys swimming at a pond at the Springfield, Mass. Images of naked adolescent boys swimming appeared in national publications, including Life Magazine.