For swimmers, especially distance swimmers, practice can be a long, tremulous ordeal. The poor swimmers travel down their lanes, from one end of the concrete pool to the other again and again, under the hot Texas sun.
“Swimming is monotonous; it’s very hard,” said junior swimmer Cole Rezsofi. “You’re just literally staring at the bottom for two hours a day. You have to embellish it.”
Rezsofi’s teammate, sophomore Elliot Fleming, agrees.
“Swim practice just depresses people,” Fleming said. “You’re just going back and forth.”
Change comes in different forms, but in this case it came in the form of goofing off. The monotony of swim practice brought upon the boys an attitude of mischief — mischief intended to inspire the masses. It was this attitude that led Fleming to search for what would become a defining start to the “splashion” movement: the movement of splashy suits for swim practice.
“I was looking for something crazy and I just happened upon this swimsuit and I was just like, ‘This is the one.’ It called to me. It chose me,” Fleming said.
What Fleming found would soon change the young swimmer’s life. Reflected in his eyes by the light of his computer screen was the picture of his future: a bright green swimsuit covered in dollar bills.
Through the miracle of online shopping, the suit soon belonged to Fleming. Founding Father George Washington embellishes the swimmer’s crotch, while across his rear end are calligraphic letters spelling “bling bling.”
“His last name is Fleming, so it was ‘Bling Bling Fleming,’ ” said junior David Smith.
All eyes were on the young swimmer as his splashion forever changed the world of Trinity swimming. On the day he arrived to practice in his new apparel, he shocked the team and head swimming coach Scott Trompeter.
“Scott said when I wore “˜bling bling,’ it was the brightest swimsuit he’s ever seen. He can see it in the water. When I’m swimming he can see “˜bling bling’ and when I’m doing backstroke he can see George Washington,” Fleming said.
Inspired by Fleming, Rezsofi followed suit, donning one that appears, at first glance, to be simply a small black swim suit. Upon further inspection, it’s home to a little kitty cat. On Rezsofi’s crotch is the face of the feline friend; on his butt, a tail.
“Mine’s just always staring at you. I’ll look down and I see cat eyes looking up at me from that area,” Rezsofi said. “Scott came up to me the first day and was like, ‘What is this? Why was this made?’ and I was like, ‘It’s a cat. I don’t know, but it’s pretty cool.'”
Splashion made serious waves as more and more Tiger swimmers realized the power of garish aquatic attire. Sophomore swimmer Abbie Jones soon showed up in a suit which covers her torso with the face and neck of a giraffe. On Jones’ rear is the African mammal’s speckled pattern.
“I really like giraffes and I thought it was a super cool suit. I always wear it on days I know practice is gonna be tough,” Jones said. “It’s kind of fun to just push off the wall and be like, ‘That’s a giraffe next to me.'”
Splashion is an artistic expression that stems from a place of joy found in the struggle of swimmers to be complete goofballs.
“If there’s a group that likes to goof off a lot, it’s us. … The suits just kind of exemplify it. We just want to look the part of being goofy,” Rezsofi said. “We take everything seriously but we act like we don’t to make it fun. Otherwise you’re just swimming, staring at a black line the entire time, so you have to have to make the most of it.”
While the splashion movement is a serious fashion movement, it is still not accepted as tournament attire.
“In meets, we have wear to our Trinity suits, but in practice there’s no limit,” Smith said.
The suits of the splashion movement make the long practices a little bit more fun. However, Fleming would say, it is not the splashion that inspires the resolve among aquatic athletes, but the resolve that inspires the splashion.
“Honestly we raise morale and those suits just accompany it,” Fleming said.