photographed by Paul Kwiatkowski.
During the mid 90s in South Florida, rogue pet owner began releasing, now illegal, store bought piranhas into the canals. As children we were urged to never go near the water. If the alligators didn’t kill us, the snakes would and if the snakes couldn’t, surely the piranhas could. To thin out their numbers the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation poisoned the water. The next day, hundreds of various fish were washed up alongside the shore.
Swim team was the only involvement I had in sports.
What I liked most about swimming were the girls on my team: Leah and Misty were sisters. They wore their hair in braids because that was the way Heather liked it. Heather was into tough guys. She dated lots of skinheads. It was rumored that her current boyfriend, Jason, was born in prison. As a birthday present he bought her an authentic swastika pendant. I don’t think she was into the meaning behind the necklace but proudly wore it during swim meets. I occasionally bonded with Misty over bands like Ministry and Pantera even though I knew she still kept boy band posters in her room. Leah generally ignored me, which made any photo she was in even more enticing. Because Heather’s boyfriend was featured on Cops for a domestic violence dispute, she became an involuntary minor celebrity. At school, no one openly teased but her position in the social hierarchy had been tainted. After the show aired Heather quit the swim team and moved away with Jason.
I haven’t seen her since.
photography & text: Paul Kwiatkowski / paulkmedia.com
hair & makeup: Allison Woodruff
post: Shane Lyons
models: Claire A. Hatfield, Karly Sciortino, Anice Simmons