That show reported that this practice was standard policy in the public schools in Chicago and various other cities for more than 50 years. I got used to it, and managed to learn to swim well enough to keep from drowning. So, when my parents wanted me to learn how to swim they sent me to a summer swimming program for boys held at the nearby public school on Sears St. Still, it puzzled me when I found out that there was no such requirement for the girls classes.
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Among those who remembered it, no one seemed to know exactly why boys were required to swim in the nude. Health officials thought that allowing fabrics into pools inside schools and YMCAs could bring in dangerous germs, since bacteria-killing pool chlorination was not advanced. As a result, the APHA dropped its nude swimming recommendation in and pools started eliminating the requirement.