There's bad news and good news about the Cutter High School swim team. The bad news is that they don't have a pool. The good news is that only one of them can swim anyway.
A group of misfits brought together by T.J. Jones (the J is redundant) to find their places in a school that has no place for them, the Cutter All Night Mermen struggle to carve out their own turf.
T.J. is convinced that a varsity letter jacket - unattainable for most, exclusive, revered, the symbol (as far as T.J. is concerned) of all that is screwed up at Cutter High - will be an effective carving tool. He's right. He's also wrong.
Still, it's always the quest that counts. And the bus on which the mermen travel to swim meets - piloted by Icko, the permanent resident of All Night Fitness - soon becomes the cocoon inside which they gradually allow themselves to talk, to fit, to bloom.