Occurs when an athlete finishes well after most of the competitors in a race. Usually given to the last place swimmer in a 500 yard freestyle. The audience intends it to be a polite gesture, but for the rookie swimmers it is a sign of failure. A sign of a good rookie year for a new swimmer is to avoid the pitty clap.
7 of the 8 swimmers finish the 500...
1 minute later: pitty clap is given to the poor freshman who is just coming into the wall.