Recruitment watch: it’s time for a swim

By Carrie Bradshaw

Sex and the City Editor

All incoming freshmen are now required to swim in the Chester River before beginning their orientation, according to a brief sent out by Washington College on Tuesday, March 21.

Devised during a collaboration between admissions and the town of Chestertown, the mandate was established in order to boost freshman interest in the bountiful nature that Kent County offers.

While it is unclear whether or not the directive will boost morale, the school is excited at the prospect of a new bonding activity.

“The Chester River swimming mandate is and always has been the most important part of the admissions cycle,” Financial Aid Guy Jack Despeaux said. “It gives us the chance to ask, “Is this student really a future member of Goose Nation? Can they follow in Gus’ footsteps and cross the Chester?” I always loved telling incoming students about my Chester River swim, and how the moment I hit the water, I knew I was a WC student. If an incoming student isn’t willing to do the swim, or does poorly during the swim, we were required by WC law to re-review their application. It’s an arduous process, but a necessary one.” 

However, some are alarmed with the requirement. Sophomore Ryan Morrow feels as if swimming in the Chester is unsafe for anyone, let alone students.

“As an environmental science student, this just feels like a bad idea,” Morrow said. “Given how polluted and dirty the Chester River is, I worry about someone accidentally swallowing the water and catching something previously unknown to science — not to mention all of the Chessie sightings that have been reported recently.”

According to previous The Morning Wood coverage, Chessie, the folkloric sea monster that roams the Chesapeake Bay, has been spotted multiple times in the Chester River.

Many believe that the cryptid is actually a former WC student who fell into the water years ago, never to be fished out.

Despite the hesitation surrounding the decision, others have less sympathy for the freshmen.

“If I have anything to say to these freshmen, it’s that it sounds like an issUe and not an issME. I would rather be in a Bendryl induced coma for nine weeks than swim in that water,” freshman Hannah Choi said.

Following the mandate, the school is expected to update the freshman packing list on their website to accommodate students. New checkboxes will include goggles, flippers, a bathing suit, a scuba diving suit, and floatation devices, which include but are not limited to water wings, inflatable pool chairs, and inner tubes.

It is unclear what measures will be implemented to prevent student contact with sea animals, including the elusive Chessie. Some rumors state that freshmen who swim 30 consecutive laps will be allowed to take home a creature of their choice as a consolation prize, so long as it can fit in a tank that is five gallons or less, per school policy.

Additionally, Health Services will be on stand-by to attend to any wounds or waterborne illnesses incurred by the activity. By partaking in the mass swimming, students put themselves at risk for giardia, dysentery, E. coli, and a host of other diseases.

While some suggested that the school should contact the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown for additional support, administrators have declined to comment on whether this will be an available source for students.

Regardless of any potential consequences, the mass swim is scheduled for the beginning of freshman orientation on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

Morrow is hopeful that freshmen will enjoy their experiences despite campus-wide concerns.

“On the bright side, maybe some of the contaminants in the water will mutate some students and Chestertown will get its own superheroes,” Morrow said.

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