Unlike Texas Basketball, football, track and Baseball there are very few books or research material that discuss Longhorn diving. I hope with time this site can add some historical insight and tell the full and compelling story of the Texas diving tradition. This page will take more time to build.
WETS (Working Exes for Texas Swimming) was organized in 1968 when a group of former Longhorn swimmers, divers and coaches, headed by Tex Robertson, met to promote University of Texas aquatic excellence. The initial goals of WETS were to: Honor the past accomplishments of UT swimmers and divers; Promote the present and future success of Texas Swimming and Diving; and to Provide a common forum for all former Texas swimmers, divers, coaches and fans to gather and stay connected. Their site information is listed below.
1950 Coach Tex Robertson
Bill Little commentary: The best that ever was
The diving well at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center is named for a former Longhorn who many consider the greatest diver of all time.
Bill Little, Texas Media Relations
When the nation's finest collegiate men's divers gather for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center this weekend in Austin, they will be entering hallowed ground—or hallowed water, if you will.
That's because the diving well at the center is named for a former Longhorn who many consider the greatest diver of all time, and who was as good in his sport as was any athlete in UT history.
David "Skippy" Browning was born in Boston in 1931 and started diving when he was four years old. By the time he got to the university in the late 1940s, he had entered his first competition as a diver at the age of ten. By the mid-1950s, he had won a dozen AAU and NCAA championships, and he had dominated the 1952 Olympics.
At the 1952 US Olympic Trials in New York, Browning won the competition by 100 points.
Browning, who moved with his family to Corpus Christi when he was three, grew up in Dallas and began competing under the tutelage of his father. Legend has it that he was turned down for an athletics scholarship at Texas and he started his collegiate journey at Wayne State in Michigan. That was before, so the story goes, that a rising young Texas supporter named Frank Erwin arranged for him to get a scholarship at UT. Browning transferred, and the rest became history.
In a time when NCAA diving was dominated by Ohio State, Browning became the nation's hope to break the Buckeyes' lock on the podium at the diving events. As a sophomore, he finished second by .06 points to Ohio State's Bruce Harlan, and there began an unmatched rivalry between the two. At most meets, they swapped first and second place regularly, leaving the rest of the field behind.
Harlan edged Browning for a spot on the team and won the gold medal at the London Olympics in 1948, but by 1952, Browning had surpassed him. Judges called him "No Splash" because of what they termed his "phenomenal ability to knife into the water without a splash." Others credited his remarkable ability to adjust a dive in the air to a peripheral vision that was so phenomenal that diving against him was "no contest."
It was at 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, that Browning won the admiration of the world with his amazing gold medal winning performance. Browning was so impressive, some who knew the sport well said that the sport-crazed Russians actually trained seven cameras on his every move to study him in an effort to emulate his success.
"They watched everything from how he prepared before a dive to how he toweled off afterwards," said a former coach.
During his Texas career, Skippy was named All-American in 1950, 1951 and 1952. In all three years, he won the Southwest Conference diving championship on both the one-meter and three-meter boards. He dominated the sport as no other had ever done. He went undefeated in every SWC dual meet. Included in his success were eight AAU national diving titles and four NCAA titles.
In the spring of 1952 at the intercollegiate competition at Yale, he was given a perfect score of ten on a cutaway 1-1/2 pike, rated one of the most difficult of dives. He made up his own special dives and the AAU rules committee officially adopted some of them.
Popular on the campus because of his good nature as much as his athletics skills, he was named a "Goodfellow" by the Cactus Yearbook in both 1951 and 1952.
The 1950s, however, were way before endorsements made it lucrative to be an athlete. Skippy graduated from UT with a degree in business administration in January of 1953. By then, he was married (to Corinne (Cody) Couch; Sept. 7, 1950), and he chose to enter the U.S. Navy. He received his pilot's wings as a Lt. JG in June of 1955.
In the spring of 1956, he was two weeks away from beginning his Olympic training for the Games in Melbourne, Australia. Stationed in California, he was on a cross country training flight in his AFJS Fury, an aircraft carrier jet. In a field near Rantoul, Kan., Browning died when the plane crashed. He was 25 years old.
As the world mourned his loss, accolades began to pour in. He was named to the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame in 1957. In 1960, he was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in a class that included Dana X. Bible, Jack Gray and Ernie Koy. He was named to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1962.
In a medium that Skippy Browning could have only imagined, there are actually clips on the Internet of a few of Browning's dives. There is no record of what happened to the film from the seven Russian cameras, but despite placing three divers in the top nine in the springboard, the Soviets did not win a medal.
What Skippy Browning proved so long ago was that diving is an art. In its own way, it is the freeform of humanity, twisting and turning in time so as to create the perfect entrance into the bright blue water.
And as the young men of this 21st Century mount the board for their flight, it is not only excellence that they are pursuing.
In the diving well at Texas, it is the memory, and the image, of perfection.
1950-1952 Browning was the best springboard diver in the world. He won eight national AAU diving championships, two NCAA crowns, and he was honored as a three-time All-American (1950-1952). In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics he was the gold medalist He is a member of the Helms Hall Diving Hall of Fame, a 1962 inductee into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and The University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Honor.
At 25 he was killed in a Navy jet crash. Horns Up!!
1951- 1971 Coach Hank Chapman Swimming and diving Coach
Hank Chapman was a All American in the 3 meter dive in 1940;
Inducted into the HOH in 1982; and
Appointed the diving coach for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team.
For almost 50 years he dedicated himself to teaching P.E. and swimming at UT.
1976-1994-Coach Mike Brown Diving Coach
A legendary diving coach at the University of Texas from 1976-1994, Brown was named National Diving Coach of the Year three times and was part of 14 national championship and 31 conference championship teams at UT. While in Austin, Brown coached 28 all-Americans, seven individual national champions, 18 national team members, five Olympians and served as a diving coach at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.
A link to Coach Mike Brown's Induction ceremony into the HOH is below
Matt Scoggin is a diver for Texas under Coach Mike Brown. Matt will become the Head Diving Coach at Texas in 1996.
Kelly Jenkins wins the National Championship in the 3 meter dive. All American 8 times
Jason Rhodes (3-meter dive) captures individual National title (no picture)
Diving Coach Mike Brown is National Coach of the Year
Robin Carter wins the National Championship in the 3M dive. All American 9 times
Coach Matt Scoggin joins Coach Reese as the diving coach. He is the olympic diving Coach in 2000,2008, and 2012
Vera Ilyina wins the National Championship in the 1M and 3M dives in 1997 and 1998 , receives a NCAA post-graduate scholarship, is an Academic All American and a All American 4 times.
Laura Wilkinson wins the National Championship in the platform in 1997 and 1999. All American 6 times and Olympic Medalist 2000, 2004, and 2008.
TSDHOF inductee Laura Wilkinson won the Olympic gold medal in the women’s 10-meter platform event. This was the first Olympic diving gold medal for a U.S. woman in that event since 1964
Troy Dumais claimed individual gold for the third-consecutive year on the three-meter springboard event and second consecutive crown on the one-meter springboard.
Troy Dumais (see diving page on this website) won individual titles on both the one-meter and three-meter springboards during the meet to close his career with seven total championships. With his victory on the three-meter, Dumais became the first diver in NCAA history to win four straight years in an event and also joined an elite group of nine swimmers to ever win an individual national title four straight years.
Troy Dumais won individual titles on both the one-meter and three-meter springboards during the meet to close his career with seven total championships. With his victory on the three-meter, Dumais became the first diver in NCAA history to win four straight years in an event and also joined an elite group of nine swimmers to ever win an individual national title four straight years.
Troy Dumais Is The Only UT Athlete That Participated In The Olympics Games 4 Times
Monica Maxwell is divings MVP for both team and academics (no picture)
Mary Yarrison is team MVP and Academic MVP
Jessica Livingston wins the National Championship in the platform.
Troy Dumais named James E. Sullivan Award finalist
NCAA Champion, 2009 1-meter diving, 2012 1-meter diving
• 2009 U.S. National Champion, platform diving
• Seven-time All-American
• Three-time Big 12 Champion
• NCAA and Big 12 record holder, platform diving
• 2010 Academic All-Big 12 (first team)
• Member of Big 12 Commissioner[apos]s Honor Roll (Fall 2009, Spring 2010)
• Three-time All-American
• Three-time honorable mention All-American
• Two-time Big 12 Champion
• Member of Big 12 Commissioner[apos]s Honor Roll (Fall 2009)
Shelby Cullinan 2011
• Three-time All-American
• Honorable mention All-American
• 2012 and 2011 Academic All-Big 12 (first team)
Cory Bowersox is an Academic All American
Emma Ivory Ganja is an Academic All American.