Indeed, Dan. There is a world of trouble out there, and has always been. That said, thoughtful school planning can avoid some of the humiliations. Apparently, naked swimming is one of those, at least in most communities in the US. Very sorry to hear about your brother and the alcohol issues in your family. Thanks for commenting, and best wishes.
I experienced five years of nude swimming during junior high and senior high in Dearborn, Michigan between 1967 and 1972, in addition to nude mandatory showers. Never witnessed or heard about any sexual dimension.
That we were nude during swim class was irrelevant, as we had been nude together in the gang showers at the end of gym class for many weeks. Being nude for swimming was just an extension of that. Also, seeing the similarities and differences between us was educational. For the most part our genitalia (as that is what makes for nudity) was without a lot of variation. That in itself was interesting. Nonetheless, there were a few boys which stood out, but those differences did not become topics of conversation.
Finally, during the week or two of Red Cross life saving class we were required to wear blue Speedo swimwear. (It was never revealed why, but my guess is the boys came into contact with each other.) After the life saving sessions were over we were allowed to continue wearing the Speedos or go back to swimming nude. A few boys wore the Speedos for a few days and then it was back to all of us swimming nude (until the end of time).
It helps to know the history of public swimming pools and the evolving views on personal hygiene, according to the story. During the 1920s, YMCAs and schools were building pools across the country for fitness and to teach swimming.
I contacted HISD spokesman Terry Abbott, but he knew of no documents or HISD administrators to interview. He acknowledged that he'd heard references to nude swimming "as something that happened a long time ago."
To find out how long the practice had gone on, I contacted Houston natives. After talking to my younger cousins, brothers Lee, David and Jay, I determined that nude swimming was abolished at Johnston in the mid-'60s, although the years could have varied from coach to coach.
It's a moot argument. Nude swimming would not take place in a middle school today. "All hell would break loose," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. "No parent would put up with it."
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 ... it's like once they decided to stop it, it was a we-must-never-speak-of-this issue.
By the mid-20th century, however, new chlorination science was developed and pool-filtration systems improved. Bathing suits were also being made of different fabrics, like nylon. Pool germs and fabric fibers were no longer a big issue. So the APHA dropped the nude swimming recommendation in 1962.
Parents sued the Menasha, Wisconsin, school board in 1961, trying to do away with the requirement that their sons strip nekkid before taking a dip, but lost. The arguments in the case were that buying suits for the boys would cost $3,000, and that nude swimming promoted "time-saving and the development of good physical education attributed."
In the 50s my mother mentioned to me that in high school the boys swam in the nude at school. Even in mixed swim meets, boys still swam nude but not the girls. This stopped finally as guys began to object that at swim meets open to the public it was embarrassing. Plenty of pics at boysswimnude.tumblr showing mixed swimming.
snude for boys was common growing up. I learned to swim in the Y and we were all nude. The younger boys had female coaches but at times there were also highschool girls helping the female coaches even when us older boys were around.There were no girls other than that allowed. However there were many instances when a mother would drop off her son for practice and wait in the bleachers for her son. In many instances us olderboys were standing on the deck nude and the coaches and moms had full view. As I got older and more aware of my sexuality I realized that there were some of us that would get erections from all of the exposure. Nobody ever made the mome leave and there were moms of some of the older boys my age that I know in the bleachers waiting for us to finish. There were also times my mom and sister waited for me to finish if were were going out afterwards. The only thing ever said was by my sistem when I was talking to my mom and she asked why my penis was hard. My mom the troo0per that she is looked at it and just said it was because the water was cold. LOL but in those days it was just taken as granted that boys could be seen naked and it was no big deal and we were not to be ashamed.
Phil S. was right. Nudity fulfills a need for every child. I was deprived of that need, and that deprivation has left me with a desire to go back to childhood and get that need fulfilled the second time. I have envied children in nudist camps, children in cultures where child nudity is acceptable, Japanese drum students, Orchid Island schoolboys, and nude child photographic subjects. I think that most children in any of these categories grow up free from the uneasiness which I feel.
I am glad to have found this thread, so I too can show some people, who flat out did not believe it when I told them about the nude swimming. I was beginning to think I hallucinated the whole thing..
LOL. Good post Stu. I don't really remember the nude swimming but I do remember getting a lot of swats from the coaches. Especially Capers and Macy. Did my drivers ed with Macy in his Mustang. He was quite a character. Used to tell us stories how he escaped Poland during WWII.
I suspect David Kaplan is the same guy who started this whole conversation a long time back. Countless kids who went to Houston schools in the 40s, 50s and early 60s had no problem with swimming in the nude at junior high school, and if they did have a problem with it they kept it to themselves, and they don't sit around whining about it now the way this guy Kaplan is doing.
As I went to Black jr. high and Waltrip sr. high in the mid to late 1960's, swimming naked in the pool during a P.E. class was a mandatory thing, to learn how to do some basic swimming. I particulary didn't like it, but as it was "required" I did it and got over it.
I thought the thrust of the article was mostly that it was a historical footnote which seemed both quaint and surprisingly forgotten. And how normal it seemed at the time and how strange it seems today. The whole embarrassment about nudity issue is pretty much a given in junior high for almost everyone, it doesn't require swimming. I wonder how many junior high schools/middle schools even have a swimming pool. I've never seen one.
Admittedly, swimming pools are probably a thing of the past at many public schools. Liability insurance costs alone would seem to militate against them. ALTHOUGH, a good many high schools have them. Recall a student drowned in the pool at Westside High School just last month. And that's a fairly new school.
Oh, Alpha, thanks, no one believes me now, but not one girl ever saw me in my underwear, much less nude! We used the multiple, flouncy petticoat shield for changing into our gym suits as well. I attended Pershiing Jr. High from 1953-1956 and never took swimming. I do recall those girls who did swim were required to take nude communal showers and the rest of us twittered they must be lesbians to flaunt their nudity like that. But in the pool, they always wore bathing suits.
There was a rumor that the boys swam nude and one day, a girl decided to check it out. She stealthily sidled up to the pool door only to find it locked tight, leaving our questions unanswered, but suspicions running higher.
I appears that nude boys nude swimming was the norm nationwide, and not swimming with bathing suits. The stories at Johnston I think help confrim this. I grew up in Dearborn Michigan and we had nude swimming also required at all junior high schools and high schools. Infact I found out that one of the oldest pools in Dearborn, started nude swimming classes in the 6th grade and was first opened in the mid 1920's. When I started at Stout Jr. High in the early 1970's we had our first nude boy's swim classes starting in 7th grade. At our school it seems that we were taught to believe that swim suits were not needed. I discovered a University Pool in the Tri State Region (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan) that had a private all boys swim club for 6th grade to high school age boys that had required nude swim practices still in 1992!!!! The boys, in fact, preferred swimming nude and did not want to join any other team. Somewhere around 1980 it seems, there was an abrupt change nationwide and about 99% of the nude swim teams and nude swim classes were discontinued. I am not sure what prompted such as dramatic shift as now it is described as illegal, immoral, perverted,and even gay. It is this polical shift of attitude I believe that is preventing nude swimming from making a come back at our public and private clubs and pools around the United States today. It does not seem as if we have any nude boys swimming teams now days. I also do not know why the girls were required to wear swim suits. It seems at least that it should have optional for girls to wear a swim suit, if in fact, clean water, less chlorine, and personal hygiene was the public health reason behind this idea. It is still common these days for public pools to be closed down for health reasons because the swimmers do not take a soap shower and are still wearing the same clothers they were just running for an hour in. Now that is what seems creepy to me.
All I know is that we were still showering after every gym class in the sixties. I went to a school that didn't have a pool, but I can't imagine that it would have been any kind of a big deal. I, personally, don't think the world is that much different in terms of "people". What is different is virtually everything is known and publicized in this day. I can assure you that, being a middle school teacher, there is no innocence left but at the same time I can't imagine nude swimming now. How the world has changed. 2b1af7f3a8