Tattoos give MU swim team character, memories

Saturday, February 28, 2009 | 10:24 p.m. CST; updated 12:39 a.m. CST, Sunday, March 1, 2009
A Missouri Tiger paw tatoo belonging to MU senior swimmer Bryan Difford can be seen as he swims Saturday in the Big 12 Conference meet at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

COLUMBIA – Many choose to display their team spirit on sweatshirts, T-shirts, or even jackets. However for the MU men’s swimming team, some choose to display their team spirit on their skin.

That’s right, several members of the Mizzou men’s swim team choose to display their Tiger pride with tattoos.

“I got my tattoo so that it will remind me of all the years I swam here,” said red-shirt sophomore swimmer Cameron Sellers, “I definitely don’t regret the decision at all.”

Sellers, a Business major, sports a tattoo of three tiger paws going up his left shoulder. He decided to get the tattoo last year after the Big 12 conference meet.

“It just shows my team spirit and the pride of the University,” Sellers said. “I figure if I got it now, I’d have it all through college.”

Sellers didn’t tell his parents that he was getting a tattoo, knowing that they probably wouldn’t be too happy with his decision. Therefore, Sellers was very conscientious when choosing the placement of his tattoo. It took over an hour to complete.

“I got it on my back so that you can see it with my suit on,” Sellers explained, “but I can also hide it later.”

Sellers also admitted that his parents took the news better than he expected, but they still said no more tattoos.

Sellers now has three.

Yet Sellers is not the only one to show his team pride on his skin. Three Tiger seniors all have the same tattoo.

“It was probably the most painful 45 minutes of my life,” admits senior captain Brad Hubbard, “but it was worth it.”

Hubbard, an Accounting major, has a tattoo of a tiger paw with the Mizzou “M” in the center. Hubbard's tattoo is located on the left side of his stomach. Hubbard did not go alone to the tattoo parlor. He and fellow seniors and friends Bryan Difford and Eric Smith decided to get inked right before Thanksgiving of last year.

The tattoo that these three received has been seen on MU men’s swimming team members in the past.

“It’s kind of a tradition,” Hubbard said, “a couple of seniors on the team 4 or 5 years ago had it.”

The Big 12 Conference meet this weekend was the last meet of eligibility for Hubbard, and he admits that his tattoo is something to help him remember his time here at MU.

“It’s something to represent my four years here,” Hubbard said, “It shows the pride of the program and how far we’ve come.”

Although Hubbard says that his tattoo will remind him of the good times he had at Mizzou long after he graduates, for now it holds a special meaning when he’s in the water.

“There’s no question what team I’m swimming for,” Hubbard said.


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Charles Dudley Jr March 1, 2009 | 10:06 a.m.

You do realize that in 10 to 20 years there will be a entire generation of grandmas and grandpas with tattoos.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y March 1, 2009 | 11:46 a.m.


Tattoos are permanent?

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken March 1, 2009 | 11:51 p.m.

That's cool. I want to see the other ones.

(Report Comment)

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