Grand Canyon Univ. Puts Spin on “Harlem Shake” Craze With “Taper Shake” Video

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 1. WITH less than a week before the start of the NCAA Division II swimming and diving championships, the last thing swimmers from Grand Canyon University want — or need — to do is expend excess energy. That's why they've created a video that turns the popular “Harlem Shake” on its ear with “The Taper Shake.”

If you haven't seen any of the “Harlem Shake” videos permeating the Internet … congratulations on avoiding pop culture. In those videos, one person is seen dancing to music while others onscreen are going about normal duties (with the exception of those who filmed underwater). Then, about halfway through the video, the screen fills with people dancing wildly with bizarre props.

Grand Canyon, however, didn't want to ruin their taper. Head coach Steve Schaffer is the “protagonist” in this video, sitting in a chair and taking sips from a cup while 18 swimmers lounge on the grass in the Arizona sun. At the halfway point, instead of going crazy, the swimmers just change positions.

According to Schaffer, the idea came from reigning NCAA champion Eetu Karvonen and tells Swimming World that “no sprinters were harmed in the making of the video.” He also pointed out that the cup he is drinking from has a UCLA logo, in recognition of the now-defunct men's swimming team.

Grand Canyon's men's and women's teams will be looking to hold a team trophy next Saturday at the championships in Birmingham, Ala., where they will participate in Division II for the final time. The school's athletic teams will being the four-year transition to Division I in the 2013-2014 season, during which Grand Canyon swimmers will not be able to participate in the NCAA championships.

At the 2012 meet, the men and women of Grand Canyon finished in fifth place in the team standings, one place shy of a team trophy. The men return 100 and 200 breast champion Karvonen, while Mychala Lynch returns to defend her 100 fly national title. Michael Branning goes into the meet ranked first in the 50 freestyle with a 19.55, the only Division II swimmer under 20 seconds so far this season.

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