By Mike Gustafson//Contributor | Wednesday, September 20, 2017
It’s the calm before the storm. The pool deck is quiet, officials are readying, timers are calibrating, and the stands — all 12 people — are patiently browsing their smartphones, waiting for the action to begin.
“What cheer should we do?” you ask.
“Let’s do the taco, burrito.”
“Lame. Let’s do that one where someone runs up into the stands and yells down.”
“I don’t like that. Let’s do…”
A swim team’s cheer is as much about identity as it is about energy. Are you the creative kind of team that does a swim cheer no one’s ever done before? Are you a traditional team, carrying the team cheer torch passed on from teams of yesteryear? Are you a “let’s get it over with already and just swim” kind of team?
Sometimes, picking a cheer can be hard to do.
There are many different kinds of cheers. If you’re wondering this upcoming swim team season which cheer to incorporate, let’s break down the various categories, and what each swim team cheer says about your team.
- The Gather-Up-Together-And-Scream.
Gather. Circle up. Hands in the middle. Cheer/chant. It’s a tried and true cheer, performed by swim teams all over the world. This cheer brings together teammates in close proximity, and consolidates your cheering power. Example: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHLETSGOHAWKS!”
What this says about your team: Your team spends more time focusing on upcoming races than team cheers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
II. The Question/Response.
One, two, or three swimmers head to a different part of the pool location, and call out to the rest of the team. It’s a question-response cheer, one that utilizes more pool deck real estate than any other. Example: “Hey Hawks!” Hawks: “Hey What!” “Hey lemme see you get down!” And so on.
What this says about your team: A little more theatrical. A little more creative, daring, and you’ve obviously spent time talking about this.
III. The Imperial March.
From out of the locker room, in single-file, with hoods over heads like Star Wars Imperial Army, comes your swim team. You could clap, you could walk silently, you could sing in unison. The point is to make an entrance better than Lady Gaga. Example: This is the swimmer’s equivalent of a football team running out on the field. It fires up your fan base, your swimmers, and it’s slightly intimidating.
What this says about your team: You mean business… or at least, that’s the sentiment you’re trying to convey. Just remember that if you walk the walk, you better walk the walk. Or something like that.
IV. The “What Was That?” Cheer.
There’s another category that needs to go in here, which is the, “What did they say?” cheer. Sometimes this is out of confusion, or lack of coordination. Other times, it is a purposeful word smash of muddy incoherencies. Either way, it will leave your swim fans in the stands slightly…confused.
What this says about your team: Keep working on it; Or, if it’s purposeful, have a sly smile.
V. The Lone Ranger.
Pick your most emotional, loudest teammate, give him a kick board and a cone to yell into, and let that person just go nuts. This can be as comical as it is inspiring, depending on the person. Example: A halftime speech made by someone very fired up and excited.
What this says about your team: You trust one person to get you fired up. You have a heart beating on your team. Let that person fire up the team.
VI. The X Factor Cheer.
Sometimes, swim team cheers defy categorization. Once in high school, we had a bowling pin that we treated like a long lost relic and we chanted to it. Why? I don’t know. Another time, a teammate played loud German rock music and smashed to bits a video game system. Why? I have no idea. But I still remember it to this day, more than any other cheers we did.
What this says about your team: You’re creative, you care, you’re outside the box, and you are probably going to lose the swim meet… so you might as well go out with a bang.
Whether you’re a gather-and-cheer kind of team, and Imperial March team, or a team that just shouts a lot of random nothings, the cheer you utilize becomes the identity of your team. So give it some thought. Be original.
And please, don’t do the taco, burrito… If something’s coming out of your Speedo, go home.