Western’s swimming and diving club adopted the name Blue Barnacles in 1937. By 1946, just as champion swimmer Esther Williams was becoming a movie star with her intricate on-screen water ballet routines, the Blue Barnacles were devoted to synchronized swimming.
The co-ed group practiced in the College Pool in Carver Gymnasium and at least once a year produced a major show that drew more than 200 audience members a night to the pool decks. Those in the know brought towels and plastic tarps to keep themselves dry from all the splashing.
The 1965 production, “Aquapations,” ran for three nights and included a beachy, surfing number called “Waikiki Wipeout.” Later, an 11-person routine about workplace romance shenanigans, “After Office Hours,” was followed by a romantic duet performance of “Theme from Romeo and Juliet.” The finale, “The Hive Comes Alive,” included 31 performers in the Carver Gym pool.
The Blue Barnacles were a campus fixture until about 1972, when the group disbanded as Title IX was creating more formal opportunities for women in athletics.
Photos from the Women's Recreation Association Records (University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries)