Ever think you would see your campus president in a swimsuit? What about in front of a third of the student body? And all for a good cause? Well, you can think again, thanks to a group of DePauw University seniors challenging their president, Dr. Brian Casey, to a swimming race for what started as some old-fashioned competition but turned into a $5,000 venture for the senior class gift fund.
“I tend to talk a big game, but when it comes to swimming, I think Dr. Casey has the same personality as I do. He told me any stroke, any distance – he would beat me,” remembered Alex Kriegshauser, the senior responsible for instigating the challenge.
Dr. Casey has room to talk. The former Division I swimmer was a captain while competing for Notre Dame and continues to swim most mornings with DePauw’s Division III swimming teams.
An added element of intrigue (which helps this story become relevant to this blog, mind you) is how this challenge played out in the world of social media.
After the challenge was set, the confident president took some unique initiative and issued a dose of pressure to the competitors via YouTube.
“I went to one our students who was working on another video project and I said, ‘I need to make a trash talk video for this’ and we did it completely on the fly,” Casey said.
Here is Casey’s challenge:
So, it was official. This little idea for a swimming challenge was bound to be something bigger – and so it became the Splash for Cash. It needed rules. It needed a goal. And most importantly…it needed a rivalry!
The Rules: Casey and Kriegshauser agreed on the rules: Kriegshauser could field a team of four swimmers to compete against Casey in a 100 meter swim. Casey, though, made sure that no current or former DePauw student-athletes were on the team as an effort to make the race more fair.
The Goal: It was determined that the loser would have to find a way to get $5,000 into the senior class gift fund: Casey would write a check, and Kriegshauser would be responsible for coordinating fundraising opportunities to reach the $5,000 mark before graduation.
The Rivalry: Kriegshauser just couldn’t let Casey have the last word, so he enlisted his production crew and issued a response. From the front steps of Casey’s house, nonetheless.
The videos caught on and the challenge eventually became a big campus event.
“Once the videos went up, you could feel the event explode,” Casey said. “The night of the race, we were turning students away at the door because the facility only seats 380.”
Well, the outcome of race didn’t work in Casey’s favor, and he will be warming up his check-writing hand soon. But aside from showing his competitive side, he also solidified himself as a forward-thinking, humorous guy that can still rock a Speedo with confidence.
And chances are this isn’t the last challenge we will see on video.
“Hopefully he will call for a rematch soon. Maybe he can get a faculty team to take on our student team,” taunted Kriegshauser.
“This story is not finished, yet,” Casey replied.
“This was my first communication to our students on YouTube and it certainly won’t be the last.”
Sounds like a “stay tuned” is in order.