The Founding of DCAC

By Jack Markey

In October 1987, the Washington Wetskins water polo team played a match against players from several West Coast teams who were in town for the March on Washington. Jay Fisette, who had participated in the 1986 Gay Games II and had met a number of Californian swimmers there, set up the event. The final score was 14-7 Wetskins, and to this day, I don't know who was more surprised, the Californians or our team.

Following the match, we learned that there was to be a water polo tournament in San Diego in March 1988. Well, of course we decided to go. But in subsequent conversations with the San Diego organizers, we learned that there would also be competitive swimming, and the event was being called IGLA (International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics) II.

Mike Worner and I decided that we would swim as well as play water polo, and we went over to the Wilson pool to join the DCRP masters team, only to be told that we had to try out for the team, and only if we were good enough could we join. WELL!


After swimming, we went to dinner and agreed we would form our own team. As we walked down 17th Street, we bandied about several possibilities for the name of the team, and with the initials D.C. pretty much a given, we quickly narrowed it down to DCAC or ACDC. Of course, since DCAC provided such a delightful double entendre, and since I was still too closeted to walk around with AC/DC in big letters on my shirt, DCAC was the clear winner. We filled out the forms, sent them in to Joanne Leilich (some things never change!) and DCAC was born.

The following month, the Wetskins surprised almost everyone by taking second place to San Francisco in the polo finals. Equally important, nine members of that Wetskins squad. David Banks, Peter Giordano, Marty Hendrick, Eric Johnson, Charlie McManus, Jack Markey, Jeff Mason, Jim Moore and Mike Worner competed as the District of Columbia Aquatics Club for the very first time, as gay swimmers at a gay meet.

I remember the cheers we received as representatives of the newest IGLA team, and I thought about that first meet when, at Montreal in 1995, we were cheered as the very best IGLA team, as IGLA world champions.