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.
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.
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 14 National Champions, and the Women's have won 9 . No other Longhorn sport comes close to the success of the Longhorn swimming.
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 1932 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.
Coach’s 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 followed his tradition and swam 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.
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.
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.
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.
Thurman Talley is an All American (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 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 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 Aqucade 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 were the first team to beat the Longhorns to win the SWC championship , 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 Art Burhham 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. and Chief Art Burnham a physical training instructor for the Navy was the coach. Captain Ed Seidel was the best swimmer at the meet.
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
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. 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.
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. In 1945 there were only 15 swimmers. In 1946 there were 21 swimmers, and in 1947 there were 36 swimmers.
This team excelled in diving with Tolar, Quaintance, and Campbell . Joe Demmere won all the distances races. The Longhorn Aqua Carnival use to raise money for the swimming program performed in front of 5 sold out crowds. Not my words but words from the Cactus state "Spectacular diving and slinky swim suits on lovely co-eds received" special attention.
Jack Tolar- All American
1948- Coach "Tex" Robertson SWC Champions
Team lost Captain Jim McCann because of illness. Longhorns 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 .
Jack Tolar is an All American in 1947 and 1948
Johnny Crawford HOH
1949 Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information
1949- Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information
Horns set a new SWC record for points scored in a swim meet. McCain, Gilbert, Cone and Karbach lead the way.
Longhorns win the AAU meet in Dallas led by McCain and Eddie Gilbert.
1950- Coach "Tex" Robertson Pending more information
Team goes undefeated thru the season. The team places 8th at Nationals . Which at this point in Longhorn swimming history is the best results ever from a SWC team at the NCAA meet.
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 continued to 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 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.
Unfortunately Coach Chapmans teams were dominated by SMU and his teams got the reputations as the Avis of the SWC. They try harder but always finish 2nd.
1951- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
This was the 18th of 20 SWC championships for the Longhorns. Won 3 of 4 events against California teams. This team set 4 SWC records
Eddie Gilbert, Skippy Browning, Frank Campbell are All Americans
1952- Coach Hank Chapman Team wins SWC
Lou Manganiell, Wynant Wilson, Roger Tolar, and Bill Hoff were the leaders of the swim team.
Skippy Browning, Bobby Brodnax are All Americans (no pictures). Team wins SWC
1953-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Team finishes 2nd in conference .
Brodnax took 3rd at Nationals. He is a three time All American.
TOPPING THE CHARTS 1953
1954-Coach Hank Chapman
Second in conference behind SMU.
1955- Coach Hank Chapman SWC Champions Pending more information
1955- Coach Hank Chapman SWC Champions
At the SWC meet The Texas Tankers took the top 4 spots in the 440 and the top 3 spots in the 1500 meter. Charlton Hadden was the high point man at the SWC meet. Joe Lee Neal and Richard Lawler were the other victors. Longhorns had on average at least two men in each individual race at the SWC meet.
First Row- Schmucker, Patton- Second Row- Bonner, Wengert, Johnson, Huber
Third row- Hadden (Captain) Perkins, Patterson, anderson, Englehardt
Fourth row- Medinilla, Neal, Nolan, Benz, Baker, Fennekohl, Schoelkopf (manager)
Dotson received the TSDHOF Lifetime Achievement Award
In 1955 Dotson is invited to swim at UT Austin, and after graduating in 1961, he is hired as coach at the Austin Aquatic Club. He also coaches in Mission, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi and retires from Texas public schools in 2011. In his 45 years coaching career in Texas schools, he produces numerous state champions and several UIL swim teams to state championships. He also 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 is the UT team captain in 1955, is the first Longhorn to break 50 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle. Patterson is also instrumental in the design and construction of the UT Swim Center.
1956- Coach Hank Chapman 2nd in SWC
First row- Million, Lawler, Second row- Barden, Johnson, Bell, Patterson, Huber, Wilson
Third row- Neal, Perkins, Medinilla, Holder, Holsombach, Nolan and Harris
Fourth row- Chapman, Smith, LeBourgeois, Griffith
Richard Lawler- All American
1957 Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Eddie Johnson- All American (no pictures)
1958-Coach Hank Chapman 2nd in the SWC
Top of the Charts
1959-Coach Hank Chapman Second in conference
Charles Lucas sets a new pool record in the 200 backstroke. Heller sets two new pool records. Lucas, Duwe, and Catlett set new SWC marks. This year there are more Longhorn All Americans than any previous year -Lucas, Heller, Duwe and Catlett.
TOPPING THE CHARTS 1959
1960 Coach Hank Chapman 2nd in the SWC
Jeff Heller is the holder of 4 Longhorn team UT records. Bob Taylor wins two events at the SWC meet. Texas qualifies 7 individuals for the NCAA meet but none placed.
Jerry Katz is an All American
1961-Coach Hank Chapman 2nd in the SWC by one yard
Team took 4 individual first at the SWC meet. Heller, Worthington, Lucas and Duwe (in a new SWC times) led the way. At the AAU meet the Longhorns failed to pick up any first place finishes, but Duwe, Worthington , and the Longhorn 4oo medley relay managed to set 3 pool records.
Jim Willerson HOH
1962-Coach Hank Chapman 2nd in the SWC.Pending more information
Gordon Beavers is the only Longhorn winner at the SWC meet winning the 1 and 3 meter dives.
Bud Beavers is an All American (no picture)
1963- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Jay Smith sets the school record in the 200 and 500 free. Beaver wins both diving events at the AAU swim meet while Spears wins the 200 butterfly. At Nationals Beaver places 4th in the 1 meter and 6th in the 3 meter diving events as Spears finishes 5th in the 200 butterfly.
George Spear, Carroll Henderson are All Americans
1964-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
George Spear is an All American
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 Langendoen, Jim Spillane, Greg Thompson, Chuck Worrell are All Americans
1967-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Swim team is 2nd at the SWC meet to a great SMU team. The Horns set 9 school records and Gary Langendoen set a conference record in the 100 yard butterfly. The team place 20th out of 66 at the national meet.
Top of the Charts
1968- Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Finishes 2nd to SMU in the SWC championship
Dana Curtis - All American (looking for picture)
1969-Coach Hank Chapman 4-2 in dual meets pending more information
For the 12th year in a row the Longhorns are 2nd to SMU. Captain Dana Curtis sets a new standard in the 500 for the SWC. Gerry Shoemaker was a double winner at the SWC meet and 4 Longhorns participate in the NCAA meet- Curtis, Ligon, DuRapau, and Ravel.
1970-Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Team finishes 2nd to SMU and does not do well at the NCAA meet. Bruce Robinson broke the SWC record in the 400 individual medley, and two school marks in the 200 I.M. and 200 back stroke. Salzhandler broke the SWC 200 breast. Steve McFarland, Robinson, and Salzhandler made the NCAA cut . In a dual meet with SMU the Longhorns were embarrassed. (looking for individual pictures of swim leaders)
Frank Salzhandler and Bruce Robinson are All Americans (looking for pictures)
1971- 1972 Coach Hank Chapman Pending more information
Felipe Munoz and Donnie Vick are All Americans (Looking for pictures)
Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information
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 ;
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 is the right leader at the right time as Coach Patterson struggles to convince the UT administration to increase coaching salaries,, travel expenses, and scholarships, and his strict dress and hair code standards causes friction between the coaches and swimmers.
The dream of a new state of the art swimming facility is close to reality;
Women's and men's swimming is on the rise.
1973 Coach Patterson
Patterson chooses not to rest his swimmers before dual meets so they swam tired. Three Longhorns win at the SWC meet. Steve McFarland a diver did well at the SWC meet and Bruce Robinson and Frank Salzhandler maintained their winning momentum from the previous year.
Three divers qualified for the NCAA meet- McFarland, Holloway, and Vick.
Bob Clothworth is hired as diving coach and Ron Heubner is hired as stroke coach
The swim team finishes 2nd again to SMU. The Horns are the Avis of the SWC. They try harder but still finish 2nd. Times are about to change .
The Horns set 11 school records and 5 SWC records and manage to win 10 of 18 events at the SWC championship meet.
In 1972 the Horns lose to SMU by 376 points in 1973 they lost by 119 points.
1974- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information
1975- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information
15th at Nationals
Texas ends SMU's 19 year dual meet win record against the Horns 63-50. The team broke 12 of 13 school record this year.
Guy Hagstette, Jamie Baird, Bob Rachner, Dick Worrel are All Americans
1976- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information
Patterson wanders why the Athletic Council built a $6,000,000 swimming facility and then says that due to budget restraints will not allow the swim team the maximum number of swimming scholarships . The NCAA allows 19 swimming scholarships and the Horns only offer 14.
Texas finishes 2nd to SMU. It is the 20th consecutive time that SMU is SWC champion. Even though this team was considered the best ever at this point in Longhorn history only 3 swimmers scored at nationals. The Horns finished 20th at nationals.
Guy Hagstette sets two SWC swimming records and the relay team took 9 seconds off the SWC record in the 440 I.M.
Brent Barker, Darrell Fick, Jeff Krumweide are All Americans
1977- Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information
The new pool opens and is the high tech wander of the United States.
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 begins his coaching career. Armstrong is selected as head coach for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where Woodlands diver and TSDHOF inductee Laura Wilkinson wins 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 I have written the bullet points of the letter below:
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 Patterson if he would also coach the Women's swim team.
While Coach Patterson beat SMU in a dual meet he never beat SMU for the SWC championship. However, there is no question that Coach Patterson’s formula for success is a winner and the team improves dramatically during his years as head swim coach. Coach Patterson laid the foundation necessary to fulfill Frank Erwins demand for a winner before a new swimming center is built.
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 result in National Championships 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 . This letter represent an historic moment for the Longhorn swimming program, but unfortunately the copy is tough to read. In the future I hope to get a better copy.
1978 Coach Pat Patterson Pending More information