Begun in 1922, Naiads was an honorary organized swimming group that was part the Women’s Athletic Association (W. A. A.). Reserved for the best female swimmers at Iowa State, members of Naiads had to be a Senior Life Saver and had to place in a swimming meet at Iowa State. Each year, the Naiads performed a swimming show for the public, and many years it drew standing-room-only crowds. Initially advised by Barbara Forker, during the 1950s and 1960s, Virginia Taylor coached the group.

Women Swimming

Naiad Swim Practice, 1944

According to the 1951-1952 Iowa State College Freshman Handbook, “The ‘mermaids’ of Iowa State find enjoyment in the amphibian group known as the Naiads. For those especially skilled in water sports, the 75by 30-foot indoor swimming pool is an excellent spot to develop intricate maneuvers and rhythmic swimming. To teach and direct different routines a public address system is used. Musical drums develop rhythm. Annually the Naiads present their swim show, a program full of aquatic numbers combining skill, rhythm and precision.”