It was the perfect storm. An addictive internet sensation involving ultra-short, easy-to-make videos. A cultural phenomenon requiring creativity, awkward dancing skills and just a touch of craziness, three skills every swimmer seems to encompass. A chance to get famous on the internet wearing some sort of oddball costume, a perfect tune-up for every swimmer who one day wants to get famous on the world stage while wearing a speedo. And the whole viral fad hit in late winter, when nearly every swimmer is tapering and suddenly overloaded with excess energy and no outlet to release it in.
2013 was the year of the Harlem Shake, the viral video sensation that went wild for a few weeks before YouTube was completely saturated with men in speedos dancing to Baauer songs.
It seemed every swim team in the country tried its hand at the Harlem Shake, but the Georgia Bulldogs’ version is clearly the most memorable. One of the first videos to utilize the underwater camera, Georgia’s Shake has been viewed over 37 million times on YouTube. The real strength of this video is in the details: the props and costuming are fantastic. Is that a bicycle at the bottom of the pool? A traffic cone serving as a dance accessory? A guy wrapped in a sleeping bag ten feet below the surface? Yes, yes, and yes.
You could select any number of Harlem Shakes for honorable mention. Check out this collection of vids from February. Or this one from a few days later.
Rise and Shine – Perhaps the greatest motivational swimming video we’ve ever seen.
Hallway Swimming – It’s a great year when swimming gets popularized in two different viral video fads.
Recruiting videos: Utah and Kentucky – These two Universities put together recruiting videos that are worthy of mention, if only for how well-done they are. It doesn’t matter who you swim for, these videos will get any swimmer pumped.
The Water is my Sky, Teaser Trailer – This upcoming swimming-centric documentary is inspiring enough in just 66 seconds to merit honorable mention. Even just the preview of a full-length swimming movie is a big deal for a swimming community that continues to gain more traction in the mainstream every year.