WETS Newsletter

Dear WETS,
Happy Holidays… We give thanks for the wonderful outpouring of support to WETS and UT Swimming and Diving! Sorry about the delay in getting this valuable information to Longhorn swim lovers. Our website is back up and running and under construction with the help of former Longhorn swimmer Tyler O’Halloran. This is the 85th year of Longhorn Swimming. We have an amazing history and are proud so many of you showed up for the reunion weekend. A BIG THANKS TO Jill, Courtney, Ricky Brown, Melissa AND THE T-ASSOCIATION for putting on the Alumni Relays, the Saturday tailgate and on-the-field recognition of all swimming and diving letterwinners, including the 2016 Men’s NCAA Championship team!

2016 Frank Erwin Awards

The 42nd annual Frank Erwin Dinner honored Brandon Gardner, Aaron Peirsol, Off Deck Hero Melanie Hauser, Tim Carter and Nancy Marter Carter.  We thank the many that make this event so special year in and year out! Eddie, Carol and Matt let us all know how excited they are for the season and for all of us to come out and support the Horns! Plans are already in the works to recruit the ‘7s!! Photos of the weekend by Doug Elenz & Vanessa Said can be viewed Here.

2016-2017 WET$ Donors

We are truly blessed with the support you have given our organization. Our goals continue to be the same as they were when our founders started the organization in 1967: HONOR the past, PROMOTE the present and future of Texas Swimming and Diving and PROVIDE a common forum for all former swimmers, divers, coaches and fans

Longhorns for Life

Your WETS donations are appreciated and very helpful to carry out our good deeds and build support. I must point out that if you really want our swimming and diving programs to survive and thrive, then please donate to the Longhorns for Life program. Longhorns for Life encourages letterwinner participation to help continue the legacy of Texas Athletics for future generations.  The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the percentage of letterwinners who give back to Texas Athletics and make each sport self-sustaining. All donations are for the benefit of our sport and honor two people who gave so much to the university. All financial contributions as a part of the Longhorns for Life program are 100 percent tax deductible. Donate Today!

We have a lot to be thankful for! Longhorn Swimming and Diving is something that we are all proud to be a part of no matter what decade you participated. Many of us received a lot from our University; lifelong friendships, the best education and to be part of the UT swimming and diving family. We thank you for your WETS donations and your contributions to the Longhorn Foundation and especially those of you who have been so generous to donate to the swimming and diving endowments. Please follow Tim and Nancy Carter, Jeff Heller and others. This is one of the best ways to ensure future athletes have the same great opportunity and success that many of us enjoyed.
A generous letterwinner, Michael McKinlay (Texas ’65), recently established a scholarship endowment honoring Jill Sterkel. Every dollar invested goes directly to scholarship support for women’s swimming and diving. Jill has been valuable to our University as an athlete, coach and now with the T-Association. The easiest way to donate is to email or phone Elaine Calip (former swimmer ’03-’07) with your donation details, so she can assure your donation goes to this endowment.

Elaine Calip: 512-471-3537

People make Texas special, and Jill has been an ongoing reminder of this in the Longhorn community.

WET’s Support our Teams and Celebrate!

It’s not all about the $… Both the men and women are off to fast starts. After a great Texas Hall of Fame Invitational, the men are ranked #2 and the Women are #5! Come out and support our Longhorn teams while they are in action. Check out ticket information and hotel blocks included in this letter. Texassports.com is doing a great job of covering swimming and diving… So check it often.

Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving
Texas Women’s Swimming and Diving

Big Celebration at the Big XIIs

A big event is being planned during the meet in Austin on Saturday Feb. 25th between prelims and finals to celebrate the legacy of Eddie Reese and Kris Kubik. WETS and the Longhorn Foundation will be sending more information ON THIS FUN AND EXCITING TRIBUTE VERY SOON! If you are on facebook (like Coach Pat and many others) you would want to join The University of Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving Family & Friends page. Brenda Ringold is the administrator and invites you to their group! Will Reeves also has a WETS facebook page and the T-Association does a great job putting out information about Longhorn swimmers and divers.

Travel with the Horns!! Hotels for Texas Fans

Thank-you so much to Linda Baxley, Brenda Ringold and Joni Jackson for organizing ALL of these!! When booking any rooms, please make sure that you book under the UT SWIM PARENT BLOCK. Do not block under the athlete block.
Linda Baxley, ; 707-486-3621
Brenda Ringgold, ; 817-313-8912
Meet: Auburn; Date: 1/12/17
Hotel Date: 1/11/17
Hotel: The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center
Address: 241 S. College St. Auburn, Alabama 36830
Phone #: 334-821-8200 or 800-228-2876
Rate: $129.00
Cutoff date: 12/12/16

Meet: Georgia; Date: 1/14/17
Hotel Date: 1/12/17 to 1/14/17
Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Athens
Address: 166 North Finley Ave. Athens, GA 30601
Phone #: 706-369-7000
Rate: $106.00
Cutoff Date: 12/22/16

Meet: Big 12 Championship Austin (two hotels available); Date: 2/22/17 to 2/25/17
Hotel Date: 2/21/17 to 2/26/17
Hotel #1: Doubletree by Hilton Austin University Area
Distance: This hotel is a very short walk to the pool
Address: 1617 North Interstate 35, Austin TX 78702
Phone #: 512-479-4000
Rate: $149.00
Parking: Free – they are waiving the $15.00 per day fee
Cutoff Date: 2/07/17
Cancellation: 48 hours prior to first night’s stay.

Hotel #2: Courtyard Marriott Austin University Area
Address: 5660 N IH 35, Austin TX 78751
Phone #: 512-458-2340
Rate: $129.00
Cutoff Date: 1/30/17

Meet: Women’s NCAA Indianapolis; Date: 3/16/17 to 3/19/17
Hotel Date: 3/15/17 to 3/20/17
Hotel: Embassy Suites Indianapolis Downtown
Address: 110 West Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone #: 317-236-1800
Rate: $179.00
Cutoff Date: 2/13/17
When making your reservation use group code UTX and block name University of Texas Parents.
Cancellation:  They have a regular 24 hour cancellation prior to check in. You may change your length of stay at check in or prior. But once you check in, if you shorten your stay, you will be charged a $75.00 fee.

Meet: Men’s NCAA Swimming Parent Block; Date: 3/22/17 to 3/25/17
Last day to book: 2/27/17
Brenda Ringold and Joni Jackson have graciously reserved a block of rooms for the men’s Texas parents and invite any Texas fans to join in. Please note that while there are two hotels listed, that they are right next to one another. I think that you don’t even need to go outside to go from one to the other…
Marriott hotel(s) offering your special group rate:
Courtyard Indianapolis Downtown for $189.00 per night
Fairfield Inn & Suites Indianapolis Downtown  for $189.00 – $209.00 per night
Book your group rate for University of Texas Men’s Swimming Parent Block.

NCAA Tickets

Interested in attending either the Men’s or Women’s NCAA Championships? ">Email Jill now! The T-Association would like to purchase a block of seats again this year based on demand. All tickets are all-session and most likely will be $75.00.
UT Men’s & Women’s Hall of Honor

Congrats to Aaron Peirsol and Andrea Hayes Dickson on their induction into the prestigious Longhorn Hall of Honor. Check out their acceptance speeches!!

Watch Andrea’s acceptance speech here!
Watch Aaron’s Acceptance speech here!

We are so proud to announce the induction of three outstanding Longhorns: diver Kenny Armstrong and swimmers Aaron Peirsol and Ian Crocker. They will be joined in the hall by Dee Hollar, diver Jim Henry and the distinguished Club: City of Midland Swimming and Diving Team.

When: Friday, April 7th, 2016
Reception 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (cash bar)
Dinner and Induction: 7:00 pm

Where: Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center
More information or to RSVP via our WEBSITE.

2017 TSDHOF Inductees:

Ken Armstrong

A native of Canada, Armstrong enrolled at the University of Texas after competing for Canada in the 1976 Olympics. Armstrong took over The Woodlands dive team in 1989 where the junior and senior teams have grown substantially and produced numerous age group and senior national and international champions. He has participated as a coach or athlete in nine Olympic Games, including as head coach for the 2000 Olympics where Woodlands diver and TSDHOF inductee Laura Wilkinson won the 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.

Ian Crocker
The most famous swimmer to ever come out of the state of Maine. Crocker was a huge contributor on the University of Texas NCAA championship teams in ’01 and ’02, and was NCAA champion in the 100 butterfly in ‘01, ‘02, ‘03 and ’04. He also won the NCAA championship in the 100 free in’04, and was a member of five NCAA champion relays. A three-time U.S. Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008), Crocker earned three golds, one silver and one bronze. He held world records in the 50 and 100 butterfly LCM and 100 butterfly SCM and 100 free SCM. He was world champion in the 100 butterfly in 2003 and 2005. He served as volunteer assistant coach for the UT Women’s team from 2013-15. Currently Ian is coaching in Austin at the Western Hills Athletic Club and is a highly sought after swim clinician putting on more than 25 clinics per year throughout the United States.

Jim Henry

Born in San Antonio, Henry grew up in Dallas and started diving at age nine. While attending Hillcrest High School, he was coached by Dave Browning, father of Olympic great Skippy Browning, and won two Texas state high school one-meter springboard titles.   Throughout his four years at Indiana University, Jim was coached by the legendary Hobie Billingsley. During that time, he won four Big Ten championships, five NCAA titles and 10 AAU indoor and outdoor championships on the one- and three-meter springboards. He was regarded by many as one of the best one-meter divers of all time, having won 10 straight NCAA and AAU national championships on that board. Jim won the bronze medal in Mexico City at the 1968 Olympic Games on the three-meter springboard and in 1969 was ranked as the number one springboard diver in the world. Jim graduated from IU Dental School and is currently practicing dentistry in Colorado Springs. He and his wife Sue have two children and five grandsons.

Aaron Peirsol

One of the greatest backstrokers in swimming and Olympic history. Peirsol was the NCAA backstroke champion in 2003 and 2004 for the University of Texas before turning professional. He graduated from UT in 2006 and continued to train and coach alongside Eddie Reese and Kris Kubik until he retired from the sport in 2011. He still holds the world record in the 200 backstroke (1:51.92). He won a total of 36 medals in major international competition: 29 gold, six silver, and one bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Pan American, and the Pan Pacific Championships. Peirsol is also involved in a number of charities. He is an ambassador for the Global Water Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation. He is also a spokesman for Oceana, which is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization and continues to serve as one of swimming’s most beloved ambassadors.

Dee Hollar – Lifetime Achievement

Dee Hollar served the sport she loved for more than 40 years. If you were in Texas swimming, you knew the “short lady with silver hair” standing on the deck. After moving to Texas in 1968, she progressed to the very top of her profession as a Texas and USA Swimming official. She knew the rule book front to back. She not only ran Texas swimming meets seamlessly; she is credited for running the “classiest” swimming meets in the country. Dee was the director of the UIL State Swimming Championship for 32 years. She officially oversaw, by means of either being the starter, meet referee, or meet director (and sometimes all three at once), every major swimming meet held at the UT Swim Center from the time it opened in 1977 until her death in February of 2006. She was the very first female starter for USA Swimming at the National Swimming Championships at The University of Texas Championships in 1978. Dee earned the highest degrees of swimming official certification, reaching a pinnacle by officiating at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Wally Pryor Distinguished Club: City of Midland

COM is celebrating its 50th year in Texas swimming. Ignoring the obvious limitations of distance, population and lack of facilities, in 1967 a handful of determined Midland parents decided to create an AAU swim team and aquatics program with no pool, no coach and 20 swimmers. COM has since produced many swimmers and divers qualified to compete at the Junior and Senior National levels and Olympic Trials. The recently completed state-of-the-art 50-meter indoor facility brings the total to seven pools attracting hundreds of young swimmers and divers.


Please check out the TSDHOF museum at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center to see the great tribute to Texas aquatics, its legends and the great new displays. The Hall is finalizing our Texas Olympians display, with the highlight of having Doug Russel’s 1968 gold medal on display. In addition, we have started work on our Texas lifeguards and swimming instructors display on the third level of swim center. Our Skippy Browning display is on the drawing board. This all-volunteer organization needs your support to continue its mission. Visit the website to learn more or donate.

WET Spots: Happy holidays to all. Longhorn Swimming and Diving is something very special, from our rich history to current success. The friendships formed and memories made create an amazing bond. Former Longhorn football player Billy Dale has made it his life goal to bring memories back of former Longhorn athletes through a website that he created: TEXAS SPORTS LEGACY NETWORK. The website includes many stories of great Longhorns, as well as swimmers and divers, that you will enjoy. He recently posted nice pieces on Hondo as well as legendary Longhorn women swimmers. The site does not accept dues or charge for its content. Please enjoy the site, as Billy’s goal is to help organizations and charities that support Longhorn sports… What a great season so far for Longhorn swimmer Madison Cox. She just earned three medals at the short course World Championships in Ontario, Canada, just following her best times at the Texas Invite. She, along with teammate Tasija Karosas, set new school records. Mark Anderson took first in two events at the Texas Diving Invitational, while freshman Grayson Campbell took the one-meter final. A week later, Campbell traveled to Kazan, Russia, and placed fifth in the one-meter at the World Junior Championships… How did Sam Kendricks become “The voice of swimming?” Read the Swimming World Article! Waytogo, Sam… You are the best and inspire us all!.. Captain of the 1943 and 1946 team, Bill Johnson and his bride MF were honored in their hometown of Wimberely. October 21, 2016 was named Bill and MF Johnson day in Hays County for their community service and Bill’s service in WWII, where he was a true American war hero!…. Please nominate a worthy person for the Frank Erwin Award. This is a tribute to folks who contribute to the success of Longhorn swimming. Our committee will vote in May on the 2017 honorees. Criteria and a nomination form can be found Here.

Thanks for your support. Hope to see you at a meet and Hook’em Horns!!!


Bill Robertson, WETS news