Photos courtesy of Robin Sautter
Music blaring, feet tapping and hands clapping resounded from the Bell Center aquatic facility last Saturday morning as excited fans, spirited sororities and fraternities and watchful lifeguards packed the pool for the annual Delta Gamma Anchor Splash.
Notorious for creative and comical synchronized swimming routines and the ever-competitive inner tube race, Drake’s Panhellenic organizations donned swimsuits, rain boots and even plaid for the annual event.
The money raised supports Service For Sight, an organization that collects used eyeglasses, provides vision screenings for children and helps fund the Iowa Braille School.
Anchor Splash has been a Drake tradition for 33 years, and it featured participation from all 13 of Drake’s Greek organizations, marked by deafening cheers heard well beyond the pool deck.
“The entire Greek community gets involved by buying T-shirts, donating money and working on synchronized swimming routines,” Delta Gamma junior Anna Schmitt said. “I’m always amazed at how much work the chapter puts into Anchor Splash and the creativity they have.”
Swimmers battled between the lane ropes to start the event, relying on strength and stamina in pursuit of the coveted two-man swim crown. Sigma Phi Epsilon proved powerful early in the event, which is characterized by the particularly difficult task of swimming the length of the pool with a fellow brother or sister clinging to one’s ankles.
Next, the sororities and fraternities faced off in a timeless test of teamwork with the medley relay. Featuring the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle, each team planned its attack with hopes of touching the wall first. SigEp again proved victorious in the event’s second heat, adding another tally to its Anchor Splash event wins.
For sorority members wishing for more leisurely participation in the day’s aquatic activities, the inner tube race was a perfect fit. Members of Drake’s fraternities dived into the chilly water, racing to reach their sorority counterparts at the other end of the pool. Splashing up a storm, the boys pushed the inner tubes down each lane, kicking furiously as the girl in each tube extended her arm to tap the pool’s ledge first.
The day’s anxiously awaited synchronized swimming performances came next. Featuring Drake’s sororities followed by the fraternities, the routines channeled everything from ‘80s dance moves to “Teach Me How to Dougie.”
Sporting matching swim caps, Alpha Phi earned a barrage of cheering with its gravity-defying flips and twists. However, Kappa Alpha Theta captured the crowd with its creative use of umbrellas and rain boots, perfectly suited for the performance’s opening number, “It’s Raining Men.”
“Besides Sweetheart Sing, there aren’t a ton of big events like this,” said sophomore Lauren Erickson, who supported her Kappa Alpha Theta sisters by participating in the breaststroke leg of the medley relay. “This is the only water event. It’s fun to see the people who are in synchro(nized swimming) come together to make such cool routines.”
FIJI donned matching swimsuits and infectious energy for its performance and got the entire crowd clapping to “Interlude” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
Drawing perhaps the most applause and cheers, members of SigEp took to the pool deck in plaid, kicking off a medley of songs with a version of Shania Twain’s “I Feel Like a Woman.” The group abandoned its country roots quickly, transitioning into a familiar song from the movie “Mulan,” and later brandished noodles as “Kung Fu Fighting” played in the background.
Festive plaid and clever props weren’t the only things of importance at Saturday’s event, though.
The performance meant “lots of hard work, hours of writing music, hours of practicing in our own private pool” for first-year Theta Chi Sean Duncan. With a pledge class of just three, the boys wanted to represent Theta Chi with a sense of pride.
“It’s all about the chemistry,” Duncan said. “We are one of the smaller groups, so it was all about coming together.”
Beyond the rowdy atmosphere, the uninhibited splashing and the matching attire, the event marked a collective effort by Drake’s Greek organizations to support a common cause.
“Anchor Splash is a great event because it raises money for our foundation, Service for Sight, and we have a lot of fun while doing it,” Schmitt said. “At Delta Gamma, we value philanthropy because it gives us the opportunity to give back to the community and engage in a cause that we would not otherwise get a chance to be involved in.”
Guys Overall – Theta Chi
Girls Overall – Kappa Alpha Theta
Guys Synchro – Sigma Chi
Girls Synchro – Alpha Phi