The Competitive Swimmer's Edge
~by Donald R. Megerle, Men's Swimming Coach - Tufts University
(Reprinted in: The Poolside Journal, 1997 / College Swimming Coaches Association of America / Edited: 2004)
I will always remember the day when Coach Tom Grall gathered his swimming team for a brief meeting, and explained a new technique that several swimmers were experimenting with.
It was in the fall of 1963, during my junior year of swimming at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, New York. He explained that a few college swimmers had been shaving the hair from their legs and arms in order to improve their speed in the water. We were scheduled to compete against our town rival the following day. Coach Grall told us that shaving was an option, however, everyone left practice knowing they would ‘try’ this new experiment. I can recall how confused my mother was when I told her what I was going to do. After shaving I remember going to bed that evening with the oddest feeling ….everything that touched my skin, from bed sheets to the clothing I was wearing made me seem so ‘alive.’