Spirit Splash makes waves for 17th year

Hundreds of UCF students wait to splash in the Reflection Pond Friday. (Photo by Glenn Wolf)

Story by Glenn Wolf

While students charged into the Reflecting Pond for the 17th annual Spirit Splash, other students found themselves diving into books instead of water.

Hundreds of students cheered and went wild in the pond Friday, while other students were participating in another event that goes hand in hand with college — studying. The library is within such a small distance from the homecoming pep rally that music and screams could be heard all throughout the building.

Brian Henley, a senior environmental science major, attempted to focus on his study guide with fellow classmates.

“I have a test in a couple of hours,” Henley said.

However, the dedicated senior was not bitter about the noise that was coming from the event.

“It isn’t really bothering me. I actually find it kind of festive,” Henley said.

The same can’t be said for junior Kelsey Bisignano. The psychology major said she was very distracted by all the commotion.

“I am trying to study for a test I have later today, and it’s very hard to focus with all the music,” Bisignano said. “Shirtless students keep coming in and out of the library.”

Those who were not soaking up the books were soaking up the sun. The event, which was named the Nation’s Best College Tradition by the National Association for Campus Activities last spring, had no shortage of bikinis, board shorts, beach balls and rubber ducks.

The events started with hosts AJ and Alex from the K92.3 Morning Show. They introduced Mr. and Mrs. UCF as well as Jason Avola, who is the director of Spirit Splash for UCF Homecoming. He counted down from 10 as students charged like knights into the pond.

The Knight Moves dance team, the cheerleaders and the Marching Knights all performed. In addition, music played continuously throughout the event, which kept students dancing and warm in the cold water.

Devin Whitlock, a junior biology major, said the water was freezing but well worth it.

“My legs went numb the second I got in the water,” Whitlock said. “I only stayed in for five minutes and then I was over it.”

Whitlock also said she had a class in 20 minutes and was planning on attending in her bathing suit.

As part of the event, the Student Government Association handed out free T-shirts to students. The shirts had “What the duck” displayed on the front of them, fitting with the rubber duck theme of Spirit Splash.

Jessica Mahon, a senior psychology major, said she wouldn’t miss it for anything. She even brought a friend who still attends high school in West Palm Beach, Christina Clark. Clark said she hopes to get accepted to UCF next year, so she can become part of the tradition.

Because this is Mahon’s fourth year attending, she knew what to do.

“The water is probably going to be very cold, but we came prepared. We brought towels,” Mahon said.

After the event, UCF police officer Pablo Vargas said the event was successful and everything went according to plan.

“There were no reported injuries,” Vargas said.

This is good news, considering the Homecoming Game is the day after Spirit Splash. The game is against the SMU Mustangs.

Whitlock said that her favorite part of Homecoming Week is the football game. However, she thinks Spirit Splash is the perfect event for the day before.

“It gets everyone excited and in the school spirit,” Whitlock said. “With school spirit, we will be sure to win the game.”

Story edited by Katie Lewis and David Carriere for Knightbeat

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