The Frank Erwin Award was established In 1975 by Tex Robertson to honor outstanding individual achievement and contribution to Longhorn swimming and diving. The first recipient was, of course, Frank Erwin himself.
Frank Erwin Award Winners
What does it mean to be a Texas Longhorn Swimmer? By Philip Nenon, ’79 – ‘82
Article is from the "WETS" newsletter
When asked earlier this week to share my thoughts on this question, I found it both easy and very difficult. I’d spent time thinking about this topic with Kris’ retirement announcement. So I sit here now with a mix of emotions extremely happy for Kris and grateful for his (and Eddie’s) tremendous impact on me as an ex-athlete, person and even parent. But also a strange mix of excitement and some anxiety for coming changes with Texas Swimming since it remains important to me and generations of former UT swimmers.
Now the hard part of boiling down into a few words this question of what does it mean to be a Texas Longhorn Swimmer after this interesting week.
Accomplishment: Every one of the roughly 70 young men and women that jump in the pool every season day-in and day-out, come away with a sense of accomplishment. Some end up being Olympic gold medalists individually and national champions as a team. But the accomplishment is the same for the 35th swimmer on the roster struggling to make the traveling team or qualify for a championship time cut who put in the effort, improved their times, and helped push and inspire their teammates. Texas Swimming ingrained in all of us the recognition and appreciation for accomplishment for both self and team, which may be the greatest gift that can be imparted.
Other things being a Texas Longhorn Swimmer mean to me: Embracing learning and welcoming criticism.
Learning to handle failure as well as success. Helping build a legacy that is continually rebuilt by those that follow. And transitioning my passion from “doing” swimming to contribute by watching and supporting.
Finally, the lingering satisfaction of jumping back in the pool to work out (even after a 25-year gap), not to relive past glories but simply to enjoy being an “old geezer” paddling along for the same physical and emotional benefits you got as a kid leading you to the Texas Swim Center, resulting in lessons and relationships that last a lifetime.
Well said!!! Philip was an all-American, member of the 1981 National Championship team and Captain of the 1982 team. He rarely misses an NCAA championship meet and is undoubtedly one of our most loyal WETS and Longhorn swimming and diving supporters. Hook’em!
Brendan Hansen induction speech to the TSDHOF is below.