Unlike Texas Basketball, Football, Track And Baseball There Are Very Few Books That Discuss Longhorn swimming.  I Hope With Time This Site Can Add Some Historical Insight And Tell The Full And Compelling Story Of The Texas swimming Tradition. 

Please visit WETS to learn more about Longhorn swimming. The link is denoted in red font below.

http://www.wetswim.org/about-us/founders-page/

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. 

 

 I can weather storms and enjoy the sunshine knowing I will never lose - I either win or learn.

I can weather storms and enjoy the sunshine knowing I will never lose - I either win or learn.

A condensed bullet point history of Texas Longhorn Swimming follows. Please go to the "credit" section of this website to view books you can purchase from many fine book stores about Texas Longhorn Sports, or please visit the official University of Texas Longhorn site Texassports.com for more detailed information.  

The Texas Longhorn men's swimming teams have won 13 National Champions, and the Women's  have won 9 .  No other Longhorn sport comes close to the success of the Longhorn swimming program.

1926 swimming becomes a "minor" sport for the Longhorns

 

1927 - Coach Alphonse Ragland

Competitive swimming was held at Deep Eddy.  Alphonse Ragland a former star swimmer for Texas was the coach

1928 - Coach C.J. Alderson

Coach Alderson was the freshman coach for football and track, and a football scout for the varsity. His swim team held all but one record in the SWC.  In 1932, 1933, and 1934 , Texas scored more points then all the other teams combined.

 

1931 -Swimmer/Coach C.J. Shorty Alderson record 6-2

Texas men's swimming is recognized as a varsity sport

Gregory Gym pool is the best facility in the SWC.

First SWC Championship

 

 

 

Top of the chart is "You're My Everything"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First SWC Championship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1932- Swimmer/Coach C.J. Shorty Alderson pending more information 

April 1, 1932 Longhorns win  the first official title in the SWC.

Nola Simmons is captain .  The team qualified every man and won most of the events in both and 1933. 

1933- Swimmer/Coach C.J. Shorty Alderson Pending more information

 

1934- Swimmer/Coach C.J. Shorty Alderson Pending more information

 

1935 - season  Nall is named head coach

Four  athletes were ineligible due to final exams and other issues ,  This still did not slow down the team.  They won their 5th consecutive SWC and only lost one match during the regular seasons.  Texas smashed 6 records at the SWC meet. 

 

COACH TEX ROBERTSON - 1935-1950

Coach Robertson learned to swim in Sweetwater, Tx.

  • Believes in weight training when it was taboo

  • Competes in 1932 Olympics 

  • In 1935 starts the Longhorn swim team without pay. He is  an incredible recruiter and convinces many fine swimmers to come to Texas. While at Texas from 1935–1950, the University of Texas swim team wins  every Southwest Conference Swimming Championship.

  • Coachs 72 SWC swimming champions, 17 All Americans, 4 Olympians

  • Develops  Camp Longhorn- one of the nations best summer camp programs.

  • He is best known for inventing the flip turn.

  • 1950  is NCAA Coach of the year. 

  • Creates  TAGS (Texas Age Group swimming)

1935- Coach "Tex" Robertson

The fascinating Story of Hondo Crouch

Hondo was known as the "Swimming Cowboy" because he dress's  like a B movie cowboy, plays a guitar and at swim meets he wears boots and a cowboy hat with his swim suit. His colorful character brings recognition to his community, the Hill Country, and his state simply because he is  an original. Texas Monthly dubs him “The Most Professional Texan.”

He and his teammates are pioneers in the young life of Texas swimming, and for a quarter of a century Hondo coaches , promotes, and directs swimming for hundreds of kids. In 1970, as owner and mayor of Luckenbach, Texas, he is tagged as a folk hero. “The Clown Prince” and “Imagineer, authorized distributor” were some of his titles. Upon seeing the unfinished new Texas Swim Center he remarks, “Gollee! Just think of all the bales of hay I could store in here!” His grandsons Ren and Kit Patterson follow his tradition and swim at Texas under Coach Eddie Reese.  Author James A. Michener wrote, “Hondo said he was a legend in his own mind. He is definitely a Texas legend in my mind and in the minds of countless others.”  For more on Hondo visit  the search engine and search for "Hondo" .  

 Hondo's induction into the TSDHOF is below. 

http://www.tsdhof.org/hondo-crouch

The article below is from Becky Patterson daughter of Hondo Crouch

Austin news article-UT swim coach Tex Robertson obtained world-famous Adolf Kiefer , Olympic champ and holder of two backstroke titles; Ralph Flanagan, "Alligator Boy" from Miami, world record holder in 5 events; Mike Sojka from Buffalo, the "Flying Fish" breaststroke champ; Wally Hoffrichter, a freestyler from Detroit; Bob Tarlton a knockout backstroker from Ft Worth; and the "Hondo Wonder", "The Swimming Cowboy", little Johnny Crouch from the deserts of southwest Texas, an ace freestyle sprinter. With this specialized star team, Tex skyrocketed UT swimming to greater heights than any other sport at the University of Texas. UT standing nationally went from #40 to #4 . Hondo being the freestyle leg on the winning NCAA three man medley relay. ( relay: Crouch, Sojka, Tarlton) National champs in relay made them All-Americans.

"We have Adolf Kiefer here at the "U" and he has quite a backstroke. That outa be a scoop for some paper."
Photo from Hondos scrapbook. In New York, Swim meet at Rutgers, Flanagan on left.
From Hondos Diary,1936:   

Adolph Kiefer is  the first Longhorn to win an Olympic gold medal. He did so in world record time.  

Mike Sojka- (the original picture of this reproduction is available for sale on EBay.) Mike is conference champion in the breast stroke and a All American in 1938.

 

 

 

"We have Adolf Kiefer here at the "U" and he has quite a backstroke. That outa be a scoop for some paper."
Photo from Hondos scrapbook. In New York, Swim meet at Rutgers, Flanagan on left.

1936-Coach "Tex" Robertson

 

 

A University of Texas All-American, Wally Hoffrichter is  a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team and the first president of both the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association and TAGS.

 

 

 

Thurman Talley is  All Americans  (no pictures)

 

 

1938-Coach Robertson team scored 4 points at nationals

This team was the first to ever score points at a national event.   (4) points

 

Top of the Charts 1937 "Blossoms on Broadway."

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Zweiner is an All American (no picture)

The 1936-1937 year was a defining moment in Coach Robertson career in Texas.  His first year the Longhorn were listed in the top 40 nationally, the next year the Longhorns were in the top 20 and in 1936-1937 they were in the top 5.   In the SWC meet the team set 5 records for the conference.

 

 

 

 

The swim team put on a three day aquatic show at Gregory Gym.  There was great entertainment with trapeze stunt, double dives by the Chapmans, and record setting swimmers Flanagan, kiefer, Sojka, and the famous Jane Dillard showing off their skills.

This team set swimming records  in the 200 events , the mile relay , 150 free style, and the 100 free style. Texas won the SWC by winning first in all 10 events.  

Bob Tariton, Mike Sojka, and Hondo Crouch are All Americans 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1938-Coach Robertson team 

Final exams and other unfortunate occurrences  saw  reduced the squad by 4 team members.  While these losses eliminated any chance of  winning the national championship, the Longhorns still won the SWC and beat Washington , Kansas, and Kansas State in intersectional rivalries. 

Rollin Baker was the Captain.  Coach Robertson did not except pay for his job so he could maintain his amateur Olympic standing.

 

1939 Coach Robertson Pending more information

 

1939 Longhorn logo is adopted by the swim team. Horns are level with the Longhorn head.

Billy Brink and Adolph Kiefer are All Americans (no photos)

 

1940 Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending

The Aquade continues to dazzle the fans.  Jane Dillard broke several records and the divers - Hank Chapman, Billy Brink, and Bab Papich awed the fans with daring dives from the board and tower. 

 

Hank Chapman is an All American

 

1941 Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending

6th Annual Aquacade was a huge success with Mike Sojka and Jane Dillard's setting some American records.  Team wins  10 SWC championship .

 

 

1942 Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending

Due to heavy loss  to the military service,  the Aggies became the first SWC team to beat the Horns,  but the Aggies still lost to the Horns in the SWC tournament and Texas won its 11th conference championship.  

 

 

1943 Coach "Tex" Robertson SWC Champs

 

 

 

Bill Johnson is  a huge part of Texas Swimming history. He was captain before and after WWII. He earned a Purple Heart for his bravery at Iwo Jima, invented the Blob while director at Camp Longhorn and was a community legend. 

 

 

 

 

1944 Coach Ed Seidel  Co-SWC Champions

For the first time since swimming was instituted as a SWC the Longhorns did not win the SWC championship out right.  Tex was on leave and in the Navy. Chief Art Burnham a physical training instructor for the Navy was the coach.   Captain Ed Seidel was the best swimmer at the meet. 

Swimming  1944 (25).jpg

Front row- Focht, Singletary - second row. Upham, Helms, Seidel, Pearce, Bollinger, Crossen, back row- Burnham, White, Buckles, Green, Mellenthin, Packard, and Cook

 

1945 Coach Bob Bollinger fills in for Robertson while he is on duty with the Navy 

Swimming  1945 (35).jpg

Front- Seiling, Schoeller, Hill, Linn

2nd row- Bollinger, Bean, Upham, Pierce, Carpenter, McLellan, Mitchell,

back row-  Grosswiler, Alexander, Rubaloff, Mellenthin 

 

Team loses the SWC championship for the first time.  Bollinger wins the 100 breast stroke for the Horns.   Bob McLellan wins  the 100 back stroke

1946- Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information

 

1946- Coach "Tex" Robertson SWC champions

Fourteen  and a half swimming titles in 16 years .  Horns return as SWC champions.  Team was led by Jack Tolar wins in swimming and diving.  Captain Demmer won the 220 and 440 free style and the IM relay.   Bill Johnson returning from the War effort and was voted team captain. 

swimming 1946(37).jpg

front- Faber, Swaim, Demmer, Johnson, Bean, Schriber, Young - Middle row  Stork, Pryor, Wilkins, Hushla, Westkaemper, Hendrix, Grant, Birdwell, top row- Robertson, Roberts, White, George, Glasberg

 

 

1947- Coach "Tex" Robertson SWC champions

The war is over and all the returning enlisted men start to inundate the college system.  The swim team in 1947 had 36 swimmers. In 1946 there were 21 swimmers and in 1945 there were only 15.  

This team excelled in diving with Tolar, Quaintance, and Campbell . Joe Demmere won all the distances races.  The Longhorn Aqua Carnival needed to raise money was increased to 5 sold out nights.   Not my words but words from the Cactus stated "Spectacular diving and slinky swim suits on lovely co-eds received"  special attention. 

 

 

 

Jack Tolar- All American

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming 1946 1947 (62).jpg

 

1948- Coach "Tex" Robertson SWC Champions

 

 

Team lost  Captain Jim McCann because of illness.  Team initially struggled to replace him, but by the middle of the season McCain was back. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tolar and Campbell went to the National meet in diving. Tolar finished in 5th place and Campbell finishes in 12th place.

 

 

 

Johnny Crawford HOH

 

Jack Tolar is an All American in 1947 and 1948 

1949 Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information

1949- Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information

1950- Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information

Eddie Gilbert, Skippy Browning, And Frank Campbell are All Americans

 

Wally Pryor  is an All-American water polo player for Tex Robertson’s Longhorn teams from 1948-1950 and produces and directs the famous Aqua Carnivals of the ‘50s. He serves 35 years as president of the Working Exes for Texas Swimming - the organization that convinced UT to build the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. 

After leaving as head Coach for the Longhorns  Robertson remains a  swimming visionary. In 1963, 1964, 1968, and 2003 his ideas touch all swimmers.

The reigns of the men's swimming program are transferred to another wise Coach- Hank Chapman

 

Coach Hank Chapman 1951-1972

 

  • Inducted HOH: 1982

  • 1940 All-American and SWC 3-meter diving champion

  • Coaches  more than 20 All-American swimmers and divers

  •  1964 U.S. Olympic diving coach

  •  Receives Distinguished Coach Award from College Swimming Coaches Association

  • He dedicates himself to teaching P.E. and swimming at UT and in Austin for almost 50 years

  • Tutors David "Skippy" Browning to four NCAA titles and 1952 Olympic gold medal

  • Guides UT to three SWC championships and 14 SWC runner-up finishes during his 20 seasons

The Hank Chapman Endowed Scholarship in Swimming was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on January 24, 2000, for the benefit of the Intercollegiate Athletics. Gift funds were provided by Mrs. Carol F. Heller of Dallas, Texas, a 1962 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and Mr. Jeffrey M. Heller of Dallas, Texas, a 1968 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. The endowment honors Mr. Hank Chapman of Austin, Texas

 

1951- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Eddie Gilbert, Skippy Browning, Frank Campbell are All Americans

1952- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Skippy Browning, Bobby Brodnax are All Americans (no pictures)

 

1953-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Bobby Brodnax - All American

 

 

 

TOPPING THE CHARTS 1953

 

 

 

 

1954-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Bobby Brodnas - All American

1955- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Pending more information

http://www.tsdhof.org/dotson-smith

Dotson received the TSDHOF Lifetime Achievement Award

In 1955 Dotson is invited to swim at UT Austin, and after graduating in 1961, he becomes a coach at Austin Aquatic Club. He also coachs in Mission, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi and retires from Texas public schools in 2011. In his 45 years coaching in Texas schools, he coaches numerous state champions and several UIL swim teams to state championships. He has served as vice-president of TISCA (1967), president of TAGS (1968) and AAU (1976), and has received numerous honors for his contributions to Texas swimming. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top of the Chart in 1955

 

 

 

Patterson, who was the UT team captain in 1955, is the first Longhorn to break 50 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle. Patterson was instrumental in the design and construction of the UT Swim Center.  

 

1956-  Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Richard Lawler- All American (no pictures)

 

1957 Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Eddie Johnson- All American (no pictures)

1958-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

 

 

Top of the Charts

 

 

 

 

 

1959-Coach Hank Chapman Pending

 

 

 

TOPPING THE CHARTS 1959

 

 

 

 

Doug Duwe, Jeff Heller, Scott Catlett, Charles Lucas are All Americans (no pictures)

 

 

1960 Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Jerry Katz  - All American

1961-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Jim Willerson HOH 1959

 

1962-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Bud Beavers is an All American (no picture)

1963- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

George Spear, Carroll Henderson are All Americans (no pictures)

 

1964-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

George Spear is an All American (no picture)

 

 

 

Top of the Charts

 

 

 

 

 

1965-  Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Jim Spillane- All American  (no picture)

1966- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

 

Steve Boss, Gary Langendeon, Jim Spillane, Greg Thompson, Chuck Worrell are All Americans (no pictures)

1967-Coach Hank Chapman Pending

                  Top of the Charts

 

1968-  Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Dana Curtis - All American

1969-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

1970-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Frank Salzhandler and Bruce Robinson are All Americans

1971-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

1972- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information

Felipe Munoz and Donnie Vick are All Americans

 

 

1973- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

Bob Clothworth is hired as diving coach and Ron Heubner is hired as stroke coach

 

Pat Patterson 

  • Inducted into HOH in 2010;
  • A three-year letterman at Texas and team captain in 1956;
  • One of the leading scorers at the 1955 SWC championship meet who leads the Longhorns to a conference championship;
  • Begins his head coaching career in 1961 at Rice University;
  • Coaches at  Arkansas, Texas A&M, and then back to Texas in 1971;
  • During his seven seasons as a head coach at Texas, he produces 21 SWC Champions and 12 All-Americans; 
  • Was instrumental in the formation and development of the first University of Texas Women's Swimming team; 

Pat Patterson was the Longhorn Coach during some exciting times for the Texas Swimming program.

  • The dream of a new state of the art swimming facility was close to reality;

  • Women's swimming was on the rise ;

  • He takes the Longhorns to their highest finish in the history of UT swimming;

1973- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

Bob Clothworth is hired as diving coach and Ron Heubner is hired as stroke coach

    1974- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

    1975- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

    Guy Hagstette, Jamie Baird, Bob Rachner, Dick Worrel are All Americans

    1976- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

    Brent Barker, Darrell Fick, Jeff Krumweide are All Americans

     

    1977- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information

    Ken Armstrong enrolled at the University of Texas after competing for Canada in the 1976 Olympics. After two successful season with the Longhorns and another Olympic team selection in 1980, he began his coaching career. Armstrong was selected as head coach for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where Woodlands diver and 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. He has been a member of every U.S. Olympic coaching staff since 2000. 

    Below is a letter written by Tex Robertson compliments of Bill Robertson. The letter captures the internal conflict, and decision making process required to hire Coach Reese for Men's swimming and Paul Bergen for Women's swimming.  I separated the letter below  into two parts so the font is larger.  If you don't want to read the letter below are the bullet points:

    • Frank Erwin in 1969 says there would be no new swimming center unless Texas wins the SWC or hires  a new coach.
    • SMU had won the SWC 15 times in a row, and Frank Erwin wanted to change those results.
    • Pat Patterson is  the answer for the coaching change.
    • In 1973 Betty Thompson the women's sports administrator ask Pat if he would also coach the Women's swim team.
    • While Coach Patterson never beat SMU, the team improves  dramatically and the foundation for the swimming center is laid. 
    • Coach Patterson resigns in 1978 on great terms with UT and he is instrumental in the the hiring of Coach Reese and Coach Paul Bergen.
    • Coach Patterson's coaching choices resulted in National Champions for men's and women's swimming team four years later in 1981.

     

    Rooster Andrews and Wally Pryor were also on the cc: list of the letter written by Tex Robertson