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I was never a good diver because I was nearsighted and was always worried about where I would land.But I at least had the experience of trying it under supervision.I recently attended a reunion of the class of 1961 of Bennett High School in Buffalo, NY.

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Reasons for this Blog Article Why would I even be interested in responding to the issue of naked swimming in the schools in the old days with a blog article? First, here was a practice most men experienced as recently as fifty years ago, and is a living memory for many of us, and people don’t know about it.

Some even deny it happened because it doesn’t fit our current cultural mores.

These boys are younger than 9th grade, but the diving board looks similar to the one I remember in our high school pool. So a physical activity that I was actually good at has been removed.

When we got to the gym our guide pointed out that the climbing poles and ropes had been removed and climbing was no longer a part of the school gym curriculum. I was sad to hear that the ropes and poles were gone because I had actually done well in climbing in the 7th and 8th grades and did it in the boys gymnastic show in P. We were often shirtless in elementary school gym class, which was a situation in which adolescent boys were often insecure because our bodies were developing at wildly different rates.

Ironically, I felt less self-conscious being naked in 9th grade swimming class than being shirtless in 8th grade gymnastics.

Maybe it was because in swimming we shed those school-issued shorts that accentuated skinny legs.

I don’t know what the rationale was for such a practice.” I didn’t press the issue, although I thought as a retired teacher he probably should have found out what the rationale was for the practice of nude swimming if he was going to comment on it.

But here’s the answer…or at least an answer: Tradition.

When we went to the pool our tour guide said, “you men will probably remember the barbaric practice of having to swim naked.” I protested, “it wasn’t barbaric, it was a good tradition.” A couple of the guys in our group, with whom I probably had swimming classes, nodded in agreement.

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