[quote author=Switchablesusie link=topic=59649.msg441803#msg441803 date=1336651624]
The thing about swim suits and filters is ridiculous. If that were a problem, girls and women should have been forced to swim naked for the same reason.
I used to go to a YMCA that had mandatory nude swimming back in the 60's. And indeed, for whatever reason it was that nudity at the Y swimming pool was required, I hardly think it had much to do with clogged drains. A bit far-fetched and silly as reasons go. That sounds like it's a somewhat contrived justification for other reasons.
I've read of many reasons why nude swimming was required in the Y. Sometimes one reads that back when the YMCA was first instituted, many poorer families could not afford swimming apparel and so a democratic compromise was thought up to make nudity in the swimming pools mandatory, so giving no one a sartorial advantage or to prevent poorer boys from signing up.
I've also read that it was thought to be a way of preparing boys for the later lack of privacy they would certainly experience when doing their military service. This was in a day and age when military service was considered to be a given for any healthy male in the US. The only drawback for this justification is that nude swimming was already in vogue in many Y's before the military draft was made into law during WW I. Nude swimming was already instituted in many Y's prior to that war. However after WW I this does sound like a very plausible and believable reason, especially during the late 40's and 50's and 60's when a WW III was considered to be an inevitability and American males thought to be lacking in many virtues that make for a good soldier. A bit of toughening up at an early age was thought to be advantageous to American male youth. This reasoning would very well account for the differences in mandatory nude swimming between the YMCA and YWCA, why girls were not required to do so.
And while it may be impolite to suggest this, as another reason, I often wonder if nude swimming wasn't part of YMCA custom simply because many counselors or coaches or whatever they were called, just liked looking at naked bodies. What better place for people with those tendencies to be a supervisor? And this is something that would not have been confined to any particular time or era. And once again, this is a predilection that is found mainly in males - hence nude swimming in YMCA pools and not in YWCA pools where the supervisors, counselors would have been female.
And there is also the double standard as discussed in DarthJerek's post here: