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Students Skip Swimming; Keep Mascara Intact

March 29, 1985

MILFORD, Mass. (AP) _ At Milford High, the wethead is still dead.

Hundreds of students are risking an ″F″ in swimming rather than go to class with smeared mascara and wet hair, school officials said Friday.

″It’s fun to swim, but there’s only 10 minutes to get ready for your next class,″ explained sophomore Kim Doyle. ″I swim, but I have lunch right after. In my class, about 50 percent of the girls sit out swimming. A couple of guys don’t (swim) either. ″

School officials said at least 190 girls and 90 boys have refused to take the plunge this semester. If they don’t get in the water by the end of the term, they will flunk physical education.

″As (kids) get older they get involved in boy-girl relationships, and how they appear to the opposite sex. That’s a natural situation,″ Physical Education Director Dave Crescenzi told The Middlesex News of Framingham.

″Kids are trying to dress well. They take pride in how they look,″ he said. ″We’re not concerned how they look in school, but we are concerned how they’ll look when they’re pulled out of the water. Most of the drownings in New England are teen-agers.″

He said many of the students who refuse to swim complain that the locker room doesn’t have hair dryers.

″Kids take pride in how they look,″ Crescenzi said. ″We understand that aspect of it, and we’ll get hair dryers. They were told that they can bring their own.″

He said most of the students refusing to swim do well in other physical education activities.

″You will find a percentage of students who will not participate in gym. We’re not talking about that kind of kid,″ Crescenzi said.

Most of the students refusing to swim are girls, he added. ″They’re not embarrassed about how they look when they swim, but they don’t have enough time afterward to fix their hair and put on makeup.

″The boys who don’t participate aren’t worried about how they look -they’re embarrassed because they can’t swim,″ he said.

The students who fail swimming this term can still pass physical education for the year if they get good grades the other three quarters, school officials say.

But they are anxious for students to pass, simply so that they know how to swim.

″These skills could save lives,″ said Principal Robert Pagnini. ″We are fortunate to be one of the few schools that has a pool.″

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