On a night when 21 15-19's and several coaches are making the trek around Central Contra Costa County delivering cookies, posters, and good cheer, some of you are new to this tradition and probably wondering a little about how this all got started. I believe this was in the East Bay/Contra Costa Times, now almost 11 years ago.
Part 1 of Traditions in sports – the WCSC Night Riders, from 12-3-2010
From 1965 through 1971, the Walnut Creek Swim Club (WCSC) was the recreational swim team champion of Contra Costa County. But in 1972, the team fell upon hard times. A year removed from the retirement of their long time coach, Walt Hoy, and experiencing a high rate of turnover in swimmers, Walnut Creek found themselves with an 0-12 dual meet record late in the ’72 season. Their streak of consecutive county swim championships would end at seven.
With one dual meet to go, two fifteen-year-old boys got together in a Walnut Creek backyard, looking for a way to inspire the team before their last meet of the year. After brainstorming on several different ideas, they decided they would get together the 15-18 boys on the team and “ride at night,” a la Paul Revere, secretly announcing their presence as the team’s spirit leaders, in hopes of awakening a dormant group of swimmers.

The Night Riders came to be on a Friday night in July of 1972, meeting for dinner at a local all-you-can-eat restaurant in Walnut Creek. The inaugural group of seven finished their dinner and hopped into a station wagon, driven by the only swimmer in the group old enough to have his driver’s license. Beginning at 10:00 p.m., the WCSC Night Riders began driving to the homes of over 60 families, to houses spread throughout Walnut Creek, Alamo, Pleasant Hill, Concord and Martinez. Small, handmade signs were taped to front doors, cookies were left on doorsteps for the young swimmers, and rolls of toilet paper were thrown over the trees in front yards; hundreds of rolls of toilet paper. At their final stop of the night ride, with 50 rolls left in the station wagon, the boys unloaded all their remaining TP on the front yard trees of an unsuspecting swim team family home in Alamo. With the sun beginning to appear, their activity was complete. It was just past 5:00 a.m. The team’s final dual meet would begin in less than four hours.
Not knowing how their activity from the night before would be received, the physically exhausted seven arrived for warm ups at the Rancho-San Miguel pool. Their physical exhaustion was quickly fueled by an emotional lift from the younger swimmers. Swimmer after swimmer from the WCSC team came into the pool area, bringing with them the signs that had been left for them at their homes. They spoke with excitement at having been “TP’d” by this group calling themselves the Night Riders. A synergy that had been lacking all year on the team quickly developed and the team caught fire. Walnut Creek won their first and only meet of the 1972 season that day, and the history of the Night Riders was born.