Frisbee and Swim Team Folklore






  • Our group decided to compare and contrast different folklores collected from two Dartmouth sports teams: Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee and Dartmouth Varsity Swim. These were initially two separate projects, but we decided to join groups and pursue a comparative analysis of the team folklores in the hopes that we find some similarities, as well as differences. 
  • The Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee team was established in 1977, and since then, the team has fostered strong connections, as it is a collective team sport. The team includes many folklore items, such as team traditions or team chants. 
  • The Dartmouth Varsity Swim and Dive Team at Dartmouth was established in 1920, beginning with just the Men’s Team, as the College was single-sex at the time. However, throughout the years, the Dartmouth Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive Team have grown in numbers, and the respective teams (and together as well) have developed specific folklore items as part of traditions. 
  • Over the years, both the Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee team and the Dartmouth Swim and Dive Team have developed specific pieces of folklores, ranging from team traditions and chants, to individual variations of pre-game or pre-meet superstition rituals (more specific to the Dartmouth Swim and Dive Team). 
  • Through extensive research and collection of various pieces of folklores from both groups, it is clear that we found striking similarities. These similarities took shape in the form of team bonding activities, which were termly or annual traditions held by the team members. For instance, the Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee Team has an annual banquet, where the team members traditionally involve themselves in activities such as “bequests,” in which older, more senior members will pass down beloved items of “flair” or other quirky, odd items to younger members. Alternatively, the Dartmouth Swim and Dive team have their annual pong tournament, which is an event held at the end of every Fall term at Dartmouth, in which older upperclassmen will partner up with a younger teammate and participate in Dartmouth pong, a social activity designed to help solidify friendships and bonds. Both these traditions are considered to be traditions that not only form close, intimate bonds within the team, but also create a team culture where teammates can socialize outside of the sport. 
  • Additionally, we found through our research another similarity, in the form of team chants. As part of verbal folklore, both the Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee team and the Dartmouth Swim and Dive team had specific team chants, said before an important frisbee game or a swim tournament. These cheers and chants not only strengthen the team bond before an anxious and stress-inducing game/meet/tournament, but they also rally and encourage individual teammates to prepare them for the game. However, the frisbee team has an element of secrecy to their chant, while the swim and dive team does not. Because the frisbee chant is secret, we cannot compare the words/meaning of the chants.
  • However, the biggest distinction between the two sports teams is the fact that while collective team spirit existed within both teams, Dartmouth Swim and Dive is a highly individualist sport, since swim meets and tournaments rely on the performances of individual swimmers. Therefore, while Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee had no individual pre-game rituals and superstitions, Dartmouth Swim and Dive included many variants of pre-meet rituals. These pre-ritual superstition all follow under the same category of general rituals, performed specifically before a meet. However, these pre-meet rituals all varied, and they all cater to specific swimmers and their needs. For instance, while Max Jones found the most encouragement to perform well in his races by listening to Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap,” Summer Martin felt a better sense of control by warming up in the same swim lane that she would race in. These are considered magic superstitions, since each of these swimmers felt an elevated sense of control upon performing certain activities. However, these individual rituals were not present with the Ultimate Frisbee Team. 
  • Because our group found that the Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee team did not have any individual members performing individual pre-game rituals, unlike Swim, we assert that this discrepancy lies in the fact that while Ultimate Frisbee is a collective team sport where every individual member must rely on each other, the Dartmouth Swim team is an individualistic sport, in which performance relies on the self, not the collective. 
  • In conclusion, while we found that both teams relied on collective team chants and traditions, Dartmouth Swim deviates in that they are more individualistic, and thus relied on more individual, specific superstitions and pre-meet rituals.



Dartmouth Swim:

Individual Pre-Meet Rituals/Superstitions:

Team Traditions:

Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee:


  • Katherine Cane
  • Luke Cuomo
  • Annett Gawerc
  • Sarah Sim


  • swim
  • frisbee
  • verbal lore
  • customary lore
  • superstitions
  • rituals