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Wild Bunch Traditions

The Meaning Behind the Name: The Wild Bunch


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When Kim Bierwert started coaching at Smith the team possessed a great deal of spirit and energy. He recalls when the team was getting ready to depart for a meet and was waiting in the hall outside the main office. They were excited and pumped up, which caught the attention of the Administrative Assistant and the Department Secretary. Both said how wild, crazy and excited they were. The “Wild Bunch” grew, in part, out of that energy. Kim had used bananas as an example of a good food for athletes, and the Wild Bunch linked up well with that notion. From that day forward the name and the concept grew and developed each year. From a team perspective, Bananas grow together in a bunch much the same way a team trains and competes as a team; it is only through the strength of the group that a banana (or swimmer/diver) can grow fully. Yet a banana ultimately is eaten alone much in the way a swimmer/diver ultimately competes alone. The team has retained, and always will retain, its crazy and wild nature and its sense of togetherness.

J-term

Affectionately called the “best time of the season,” it is the time between returning from the team training trip in Puerto Rico and the start of spring semester. With most of the campus empty and two-a-days, the bananas get to spend a lot of time hanging out. Different activities such as puzzle night and banner night are a must, but team members take it upon themselves to add some fun and creativity to the frigid New England nights.

Puzzle Night

One night during J-term, Kim gives the team a puzzle and a midnight deadline. Sometimes he gives puzzle pieces without the picture box, other times it’s a 5,000 piece solid color puzzle with identical pieces. No matter the challenge, the wild bunch bands together in completing the midnight challenge. If successful, they earn the next morning off of practice.

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Secret Psych Ups (SPU)

Secret Psych Ups are small gifts that team members exchange before meets.  Whether it is a poster or a pre-meet snack, it is sure to get everyone excited to compete! As the season progresses and team members get to know each other the personal gifts become a highlight of the season.

Snowball Fight

This tradition takes place after the first significant snow fall of the year. Before practice members of the team gather snow to hide in the locker room until warm-up.  When Kim disappears to prepare for attack, the team runs to grab their ammunition and battle begins.  The team is undefeated and understands the tactic of occupying higher ground.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Christine permalink
    February 28, 2012 10:18 am

    Did this ever happen this year haha?

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