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Swimmers strip for Orcas Swim Team auction

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

On March 4, Seattle's Orcas Swim Team held their first-ever auction & with a twist. The members of Orcas auctioned off the clothes they were wearing to raise money for the Emerald City Swim Meet the team is hosting on March 13.

"Auctioning the Shirts Off Our Backs&" took place at The Lobby Bar and was hosted by Seattle drag queen DonnaTella. The auctioning off of their clothes was done in the style of a silent auction. Each swimmer - referred to as an "item" - walked around The Lobby Bar with their "pimp," another team member who would try to entice customers to bid. Each round lasted 15 minutes, and at the end of the round, the auction items lined up on the staircase, poised to strip off an item of clothing.

The winning bidder for each round was awarded an individual photo taken with their auction item, which will be posted on the Facebook event page. Prizes were also awarded to the highest bidders of the night.

In addition to bidding on auction items, many individuals made general donations to the Orcas Swim Team.

"It is really nice to see so many people show up to support our team," Chad Minnick, Orcas Swim Team fundraiser told SGN. "The money we raise tonight will help us pay for costs that are associated with hosting a swim meet."

Minnick says that competitive swimming is a year-round sport for the Orcas. On average, the team's numbers swell to over 100 because the demand for swimmers is always present. "Competitive swimming is a unique sport in that although the swimmers are a part of the team, it is a very individualized sport," he said. "People swim to feel better about themselves, it is very healthy, and you are swimming against the clock, always trying to better your time."

The Orcas Swim Team is a Gay athletic group, but Minnick says they compete in a lot of non-Gay swim meets. The team is highly competitive, he said. "Because of the high number of swim meets and travel requirements, fundraisers like tonight are very important for us," Minnick told SGN. "We hope to send some athletes to the Gay Games this year."

Minnick told SGN the team has always got something going on outside the swimming pool. "After our Friday practice, we have a team dinner with all the people who showed up. We have a lot of social events we go to."

Because Seattle has so many Gay athletes, Minnick says there is a lot of cross-pollination. "Many of our teammates are a part of some of the other Gay sports leagues."

For more information, visit the Orcas Swim Team online at www.orcasswimteam.org.

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