I used to think periods and swimming went together like toothpaste and orange juice.

They just didn’t.

All throughout middle school I used the “But sir, I can’t, I have my period!” excuse on many an unwitting swimming teacher. (Sometimes on the odd awkward athletics teacher, too.) 

And on the days when I actually was visited by my great Aunt Flow, there was a fat chance I’d risk a stray tampon string in the name of winning inter-house sports.

While it’s understandable for young period-havers to feel a little uncomfortable about stripping down mid-menses (or stripping down in general), there’s actually no reason to feel funny about plugging up and diving in during your shark week.

The Clams, a 30 woman-strong feminist water ballet team straight outta Melbourne, are helping dislodge this stigma around menstrual cycles through performance.

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The Clams are putting on a show called ‘Crimson Tide: A Period Piece‘ which they reckon will be a “bloody good pool party” featuring expertly-choreographed water ballet, beats from DJ Whiskey Houston and an actual water disco punters can get involved in. 

Yep, you can come along to the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre on March 18th and watch The Clams sync up, and it’s all for a damn good cause.

Entry costs $15 with all proceeds going to Share the Dignity, a non-profit that works to ensure disadvantaged women around ‘Straya have access to essential sanitary items. Tsuno (a social enterprise that sells sustainable, bamboo-fibre sanitary pads) is getting involved too, making this one feel-good affair.

Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV, the brain behind The Clams, Francis van Beek, explained how the idea for a show about periods came to be:

“The idea was a no-brainer. What are we passionate about? Empowering women. Normalising periods is a huge part of that. And think about it … synchronised swimming, syncing your periods, puns about the Crimson Tide … it’s just too perfect!”

The show is a light-hearted, creative interpretation of the menstrual cycle. I hope it will help create conversation and reduce the stigma of openly discussing menstruation.

Serendipitously it’s also a great show of body positively, with ladies of all shapes and sizes on the team. We even have two pregnant Clams – one is about to pop!”

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Too bloody good.


Saturday March 18

Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre

180 Victoria Rd, Northcote

5pm – 8pm (doors from 4.30)

Book tickets here

Photo: Bri Hammond.