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Making waves: Swarthmore Swim Club’s newest addition

Junior Charlie Detweiler spent his summer making a splash… with paint.
CJ Chen ’24
Charlie Detweiler completed a mural at Swarthmore Swim Club.

Junior Charlie Detweiler spent his summer making a splash… with paint!

General Manager Angela Ripley proposed the idea for Detweiler to design and paint a mural for the Swarthmore Swim Club. She saw his passion for art through their time working together. Detweiler has been a lifeguard at the club for two years and previously designed the 1000 laps shirts. 

“I had seen him sketching and painting when he wasn’t on the lifeguard stand,” Ripley said. “When he was on his break, he would come down and just draw and that’s what he would do to relax. So I saw how talented he was by just him sitting there sketching. I also follow his Instagram and have seen the different projects that he’s produced.”

Ripley reached out to see if he was interested and Detweiler accepted the offer enthusiastically. 

“I was over the moon,” Detweiler said. “I was like ‘Yeah of course, I’d want to do a mural’. I was, like, clicking my heels when I found out.”

Detweiler started the planning process in late spring, after the his sketch was approved by the swim club’s board. 

Senior E.C Melly assisted with the wall prepping process and pointed out a particular challenge in the beginning stages.

“We had to deal with the cracks in the wall, which was really difficult,” Melly said. “I really only helped with painting the wall blue, and that was annoying because you had to get into all the crevices.”

Melly recalled her job with mural and why she thought her work was helpful to Detweiler and to the progress of the project.

“It used to be a different mural that was faded, and if he was painting that wall himself, it would take him twice as long to do because we had to paint over everything,” Melly said. 

Detweiler had to learn to deal with the unpredictable weather that caused delays. In total, the mural took upwards of fifty hours, which was longer than Detweiler expected. 

“A lot of rain really threw me off. A lot of times the pool was closed and I couldn’t get to it,” he said.

On top of overcoming challenges, Detweiler also had some goals in mind to make the mural admirable for the swim club’s visitors, and the staff encouraged him to let loose. 

“He had total free range and he did a great job with his artistic creativity,” Ripley said.

The finished image includes a large shark in a sea of smaller fish and corals, along with other bright decorations.

“I wanted it to be like an ‘I spy’ kind of thing, like everytime you look at it, you see something new,” Detweiler said. He also designed the shark, the mascot of the swim club, to have a more cartoon-ish feel, as to not scare children that visit the pool. 

“It makes my day when little kids say ‘oh my god, there’s Squidward’s house!” said Detweiler.

Detweiler’s talent was also recognized by many of his peers and the finished product generated positive remarks around the community. Senior Henry Reacher, a fellow lifeguard at Swarthmore Swim Club, admires the dedication to pull off such a project. 

“I saw him working on it a lot,” Reacher said. “He would do it bit by bit every single week, and it took him a couple months, so I know he worked really hard on it.” 

Detweiler discussed some of the reasons he was proud to have his art permanently displayed for the public. 

“I thought it was awesome to have a part of the community that has my art on it, and that’s gonna last there for a long time. After I leave for college and stuff like that, there’ll still be my art.”

The most rewarding part of Detweiler’s hardwork was, according to him, the reactions to his artwork. 

“[My] favorite part was definitely just watching people come up to it and be like ‘oh my god look at that!’” Detweiler said. 

Ripley then talked about the successes of the mural and of hiring Detweiler for the project. 

“I would one hundred percent hire Charlie again to do another mural and to continue painting our walls to make them better,” Ripley said. 

Detweiler hopes to carry out similar projects in the future. He’s looking forward to sharing more of his skills with the community as opportunities pop up, and his fin-tastic addition to the swim club will be admired by many to come.

“Charlie did an incredible job, he was easy to work with and people should continue to hire him,” Ripley said. 

View Comments (3)
About the Contributor
CJ Chen '24
CJ Chen '24, Reporter
CJ is a senior reporter for the Panther Press. They enjoy teaching their pet chickens tricks, cooking fancy meals, and traversing local parks.
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  • J

    Joanne KearneyOct 6, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    Beautiful mural, Charlie.
    Nicely written article, CJ and Lucy.

  • A

    Anne MarshallSep 30, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    I am proud of you Charlie. Aunt Anne

  • C

    Charlie DetweilerSep 29, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    This guy sounds pretty cool!