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Naval Academy ‘plebes’ finish annual monument climb

May 20, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen have finished a traditional monument climb in a little over an hour.

Midshipman Christian Schwien of Fairfax, Virginia, replaced an underclassman’s “Dixie cup” hat with an upperclassman’s cover in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 5 seconds on Monday. The academy says that’s the fastest recorded time on a greased monument in more than 30 years.

Each year, first-year students form a human pyramid around a 21-foot (6 meter) obelisk that has been greased with butter, shortening and oil.

Students began the yearly event in 1940. They added the symbolic placement of the cap on its tip seven years later. In 1949, upperclassmen began smearing as much as 200 pounds of lard on the Herndon Monument to make the exercise more challenging.

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