The Naked Truth About Boys’ Swimming In School, And Rachael Kilgour’s Tribute To Her Dad

Air Date:
Heard On Simply Superior
Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Rachael Kilgour

It may sound unbelievable, but for decades, boys were required to swim nude in public schools across the U.S., including the Twin Ports. The requirement is recalled as an embarrassing rite of passage by men now in their 60s and older, including “Simply Superior” host Robin Washington, whose 2006 National Public Radio commentary on it has been cited frequently ever since. In it, he uncovered the end of the practice in Duluth in 1974 — but never why it was instituted in the first place.

Now, he has the answer, traced to a 1920s recommendation from the American Public Health Association. He discusses it at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 22 with Axios reporter Monica Eng, who also reported on the subject — and the incredulity accompanying it — for Chicago’s NPR affiliate WBEZ-FM. University of Montana Professor Jeff Wiltse, an expert on the history of swimming pools, also joins the conversation.

Plus, Rachael Kilgour is one of the Twin Ports’ top break-out singer-songwriters who’s taken her show on the road and picked up more than a few national music awards along the way. Her latest album, “My Father Loved Me,” is a touching tribute to her dad. She joins Washington with selections and stories of her father ahead of an album-release performance on Friday at Zeitgeist in Duluth.

Episode Credits

  • Robin Washington Host
  • Robin Washington Producer
  • Robin Washington Interviewer
  • Steve Davis Guest
  • Rachael Kilgour Guest
  • Monica Eng Guest
  • Michael Rosenzweig Guest
  • Jeff Wiltse Guest

Related Stories