Shortly after midnight Monday, more than three dozen teenagers jumped into the pool at the Larry A. Dale Aquatic Center next to Seminole High School.
School officials were not concerned, and the police were never called. This wasn’t a prank pulled off by soon-to-be seniors in the Class of 2016.
Instead it was a mandatory practice for the Seminole High School Swim Team as it prepares for the upcoming aquatics season.
The midnight swim is a tradition that goes back more than a decade said coach Tony Ackerson.
“It’s a way for our kids to show their commitment to the sport and our team,” he said.
“The state says practice can begin at midnight on the first day of the season because they have to put a time on it. No one is crazy enough to start at midnight, but I guess we are,” Ackerson joked.
The Noles are the first swim team in Florida to begin practice at midnight. Other teams have copied the practice but most of those efforts are ceremonial.
“We go at it hard right from the start,” said Ackerson, adding that practice would last 2.5 hours.
As for the team members, Ackerson said they have bought into the hype.
“The kids circle this date on their calendar. After the first practice, they usually go to Steak ‘n Shake,” said Ackerson. “It’s a real team bonding event.”
Evidently, the midnight swims are working. Seminole High School is one of the top programs in the state with 15 High School All-Americans since 2005. The boys team has won 5 consecutive district titles and finished in the Top 5 in Florida the last two years.
– by Dan Ping