Conference Traditions and Rituals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Kelsey Mitchell, Swimming World College Intern.

Every college team has special traditions and rituals they use to prepare for their big end-of-season meets. From special cheers, dances and team bonding activities, every team prepares for big meets in their own special, wacky ways. Here are a few of those traditions.

1. Lake Forest College


Photo Courtesy: lfc_swimdive

Lake Forest College, located in Lake Forest, Ill., is a small school that is part of the Midwest Conference. Before their championship meet, the women’s team watches a movie or gets their nails painted and the men’s team bleaches and dyes their hair bright colors. At the conference meet, both the men’s and women’s teams say a special cheer during the last finals session and eat sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner. The men’s team also shaves their heads. During the first session, all of the teams in attendance place a small, self-chosen idol on top of the ten-meter diving board and dance the Hokey Pokey before the final heat of the mile.

2. La Verne University


Photo Courtesy: Brad Jaques

La Verne University, located in La Verne, Calif., is a small school that competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Before all of their meets, they share a team dinner together and thank the teams they compete against at the end of every meet.

3. University of Hawaii

University of Hawaii Swimming and Diving Pool

Photo Courtesy: Dan Worden

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is a midsize school located in Honolulu, Hawaii, that competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports federation. On the last day of their conference meet, the men’s team performs the Ha’a, a traditional warrior chant and dance. Kate Santilena says the Ha’a “really gets everyone on UH pumped before finals.”

4. Pacific Lutheran University


Photo Courtesy: pluswim

Pacific Lutheran University is another smaller school located in Tacoma, Wash. They compete in the Northwest Conference. Before their conference meet, the team members make each other good luck books. The books allow for team members to creatively express their feelings towards their teammates. The pages oftentimes include jokes. At the meet, the team members are given a conference shirt they wear to show their unity. Afterwards, the team holds a banquet to recognize the athletes’ accomplishments.

5. Arcadia University


Photo Courtesy: arcadia_swim

Arcadia University, a small school located in Glenside, Pa., competes in the Middle Atlantic Conference. To prepare for their conference meet, the men’s team bleaches their hair and the women’s team dyes parts of their hair red.

6. Soka University

Soka Swim Meet on November 14, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Min Xiang Lee

Soka University is a small NAIA school located in Aliso Viejo, Calif. They compete in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference. For their conference meet, team members paint their nails gold and blue to show team pride and wear gold flash tattoos.

What traditions and rituals does your team practice before meets? Share your favorites below!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Brian Dohe
Brian Dohe
5 years ago

Love the Whitman College swim team cheer (this version from the alumni swim meet).

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