Wha-Hoo-What? Swim Team Rebuked for Chant

The Dartmouth swimming and diving team has landed in hot water after a pre-meet chant last weekend raised eyebrows among some on campus.

According to two members of the team, College administrators contacted their coaching staff on Wednesday with concerns about the lyrics of their traditional cheer. They complained that its use of the old “Wah-Hoo-Wah” battle cry is a clear reference to the school’s erstwhile Indian mascot and violates established athletic department policy. To avoid future transgressions, the administrators asked the team to amend the cheer immediately. They also threatened disciplinary action as severe as suspension should it be used in the future.

Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Sports.

Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Sports.

This is not the first time that swimming and diving’s “Wah-Hoo-Wah” has run afoul of Pankhurst’s policies. One swimmer told The Dartmouth Review that the team received a similar warning three years ago after an administrator overheard the cheer during a home meet. In its aftermath, the team amended the offending lyric to “rah-hoo-rah” and began to use the revised version during all events in Alumni Gym. While on the road, however, some swimmers continued to chant “Wah-Hoo-Wah” as a way of retaining “a tradition that has defined Dartmouth swimming and diving for years.” It also remained popular among many in the locker room before it made its reappearance on campus at the team’s meet against Penn and Yale last Saturday.

Although the cheer has shown a great deal of resilience over the years, most agree that this latest rebuke represents the end of the line for the “Wah-Hoo-Wah” lyric. General complaints about the heavy-handedness of the administration’s policies have been tempered by concerns that its ongoing use could lead to severe disciplinary action. As a result, most swimmers sense that their traditional chant is likely to make a more permanent departure from their pre-meet repertoire now that the stakes have been raised.

Members of the athletic department and the administration did not respond to The Review’s requests for comment by the time of this story’s release.