Ryan was the last guy in the shower.
He hung his dark blue towel on the only free hook and then stepped into the swirl of steam and heat, searching for the last free showerhead. The whole swim team was there—pink and brown bodies all dripping with soapy foam. Some guys laughed—others were silent and thoughtful, worn out from practice. One by one, the young men peeled off their Speedos, turning toward the tile wall as they stepped out of their suits. Their bare, dimpled bottoms glowed pale, showing the tan lines of late summer.
Ryan knew when to look away. Years and years of swim team had trained him to feign total disinterest in the naked male display that followed every practice. He played it cool, dropped his head, and turned the shower knob to hot. Besides, there was no need to stare—Ryan caught everything out of the corner of his eyes—all those slim and muscled men beneath the white wall of water. In the blur of shampoo rinsing down his face, he saw the parade of exposed flesh before him. His teammates posed like slow-moving statues, some of them with their dicks long and droopy, other guys still small and recovering from the ice-cold swimming pool, their shriveled up members growing fuller, their balls blushing red with heat.
Ryan closed his eyes and turned back against the wall. No—he would not get hard. At least, not too hard—most days, he only ever got to a semi-erection that could be covered with his hands or shampoo bottle. He steered his thoughts away from sex—thinking instead about his heavy homework load, his shabby car, and his negative bank balance. Focusing on all the crap in his life deflated his boner like a sad balloon. Besides, all these guys on the swim team were off limits—they were his friends and fellow athletes. He knew them too well ever to be interested, and they were straight. The post-practice shower brought nothing more than a fantasy glance—a few minutes in the steamy darkness when he was surrounded by beautiful college boys, memories that he could replay in his mind at night, back in his room, eyes closed and his hand shaking out his own farmboy’s cock.
The fantasy vanished quickly as the guys stepped out of the steam and slid barefoot into the locker room. There was Hunter—the team’s Butterfly champ, with his bulky shoulders, huge thighs, and shaved head—the guy looked like Mr. Clean. Then Zach, who was so tan it looked like his white butt had been painted on, and redhead Kyle with his orange pubes and spotty freckled back. Theo and Mason looked like twins, but they were only brothers, black-haired lumberjacks from up near the Canadian border. Jay was the only city boy—from Minneapolis—mocha-skinned and double majoring in Computer Science and Biology, while Darian was the only black guy on the team, with a set of tight, eight-pack abs, and a spread of fine curly black hair in the middle of his broad chest. Darian switched to baseball in the spring, and was the only student ever to actively compete in two different collegiate sports at Chippewa College. Owen was state breaststroke champion and swaggered around the locker room, frog-like, forever scratching his crotch and shaking the water from his shaggy black hair, like a dog. Erik was some kind of foreign student—was it Switzerland?—long and fit, with a cute elfish haircut and crazy European goggles that made him look even more alien. Ryan knew him the least of all. Then there was AJ, who had the Roadrunner tattooed on his right butt cheek—a smiling cartoon bird in mid-sprint, ready to leap from his hard hip. AJ was by far the fastest guy on the team, a sprinter who lapped every other swimmer at the last semi-final. The whole team loved him.
After Ryan, the last guy out of the showers was Owen, still in his Speedo, who only ever changed beneath a tightly wrapped towel, careful not to show even an inch of butt crack. The guys chalked up Owen’s modesty to his being a serious Christian—the guy wore a cross on a gold chain—so it was that, or else, he didn’t want to confirm the stereotype about Asians having small dicks. Ryan used to hope Owen was a closet case, but then Owen went and got a steady girlfriend, and now the rest of the team were all a bit jealous of him.
These were the swimmers of the Chippewa College Men’s Swim Team in Lakeside, Minnesota. They had nowhere near the numbers of the bigger state schools, but what they did have was the PAC, or Pearson Aquatic Center—a state-of-the art, Olympic-sized swimming and diving complex built by the biotech billionaire Jack H. Pearson. Jack had done his undergrad at Chippewa, where he swam for the team and event went to state finals. When Pearson came back years later to speak at graduation, he was so upset by the moldy, crumbling pool from the 1940s that he wrote a check on the spot. Two years later, the PAC opened and turned Chippewa into one of the best swimming schools in the country—right up there with Ohio State in Columbus and Pinecrest in Florida.