Summer Newsletter


Dear WETS, July 2019

2019 was a great year for Longhorn Swimming and Diving. Thanks to you, our little organization blossomed with support last year and we do hope you will support WETS again this season. Even the smallest amount means you care and support the greatest university and our swimmers, divers and coaches!

WET’s celebrate September 20th -22nd in Austin. It will be a great weekend in Austin. Friday afternoon is the annual alumni relays. Friday night is our 44th annual WETS Banquet and FRANK ERWIN AWARDS. WETS is honoring four great Longhorn Swimming and Diving legends and truly remarkable Off-Deck Heroes: Rip Esselstyn, Bryan Jones, Terri Seipel-Hinohoso, Claire Sanders McCall, Annabelle Cripps and Chuck Warner and Dana Abbott

We will also have a tribute to the recent graduate swimmers and divers, honor those who competed in years ending in 9 and hear from Longhorn coaches about the upcoming season. This year’s event will be in a new location (Centennial Room) on the 9th floor of Belmont on the WEST side of the stadium. For more info on the weekends events, how to reserve your place for various events and our honorees bios see below. Or check out the banquet webpage to reserve your place: www.wetswim.org/banquet/

We just mailed the only printed version of the WETS News. We will send you WETS letters via email and will post news on our website throughout the year. If you are not on the Longhorn swim network email list or the T-Association list – or you do not get the letter in the mail – then please contact me or Jill Sterkel () with a good mailing address.

$$ WETS Dews are Due $$

Thanks for helping Texas Swimming stay afloat. Please use our website www.WETSwim.org to pay your dues or send in the envelope and form with your 2019-2020 donation. Do not send more than $100.00 (unless you are paying for banquet tickets) as big donations are still needed to help UT Swimming & Diving by donating to the Longhorn Foundation or Longhorns for Life. Don’t forget to check Swimming and Diving when donating!!!

Our treasurer, $cott Mactier, reports that we are in good financial condition and have plenty of liquid assets to put on our annual banquet, provide the team awards and Erwin plaques, print and mail this fun letter, website hosting and enough left over for a sizable donation to Men’s and Women’s scholarship funds. We appreciate all the work Scott and his bride Karan are doing to help the organization! Our balance stands at $22,670.96. Your little splash of cash helps us promote UT Swimming and Diving, gives honor to our great past and helps the future of Burnt Orange Aquatics!

Here are our top three suggested ways to financially support Texas Swimming: #1….WETS limit your contributions to WETS to no more than $100.00 so you can give where it truly counts. #2….Outdoor Pool Facility. Get your name on a lane!! #3…. Scholarship Support – College athletics scholarships are the pathway to higher education to more students than any other source of scholarships in the nation; it is important for us to show commitment for our Swimming and Diving Programs by providing support to a world-class education for future generations of deserving swimming and diving student-athletes. WETS donates a splash of cash each year and we encourage you to do the same! Swimming & Diving Scholarship Support: mail a check made payable to “The University of Texas” with the scholarship name in the memo line (see options below)

Mailing Address: The Longhorn Foundation, PO Box 7399, Austin, TX 78713 Phone: 512-471-7348.

Men’s Swimming & Diving Scholarship Support: Give online or follow check instructions above. http://thelonghornfoundation.com/sports/2017/1/24/swim-dive.aspx All your gifts are 100% tax deductible, and every cent goes to support a current student-athlete making the same ripples you once made on the 40 Acres. We challenge you – UT Men’s & Women’s Swimming/Diving alumni – to have the highest participation percentage of all Longhorn sports. Any amount is helpful, and participation is crucial. We’re off to a great start!

If you would like to donate to our scholarship support or our current top funding priority, the Outdoor Pool Facility… please contact Billy Humphries (), 512- 471-2433

We appreciate your consideration in supporting Texas Swimming & Diving!

WET’s celebrate!!! Friday night is our 44th annual WETS Banquet and FRANK ERWIN AWARDS. WETS will honor seven great Longhorn Swimming and Diving legends!

Rip Esselstyn, Bryan Jones, Terri Seipel-Hinohoso, Claire Sanders McCall, Annabelle Cripps and Off-Deck Heroes: Chuck Warner and Dana Abbott

Reservations are being accepted on the WETS website www.WETSswim.org

We are also honoring all members of teams from the ‘9-s; 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 and of course our 2019 seniors for the weekend’s events… My captain from the 1978 team, Darrell Fick has teamed up with Ben Van Roekel from the 2010 NCAA Championship team to serve as our WETS recruiting coordinators, and they have contacted all the captains for those years and you might expect a call, email, text, tweet, friend request etc… from your captain!!!

3:30 PM Friday afternoon will be our annual Alumni Swim Meet. Divers will hold a handstand and Rip contest. Then at 5:00 PM complimentary beverages and bites will be served for letterwinners, WETS and guests prior to the dinner banquet. Saturday will be the swimming and Diving Letter-winners Tailgate three hours before the UT vs. Oklahoma State football game located on the plaza in front of Bass Concert Hall. Letterwinners may request one complimentary ticket. Additional tickets available for purchase. Sunday at 10am will be a fun social at Cover 3 (Downtown @ 1717 West 6th St.) Join us for appetizers and social-ness!!

Registration for the WETS Erwin Dinner are being accepted now. Jill will be sending out reminder post cards later this month. Registration for the other events will open in late July. Questions: or call 512-471-6340

2019 Frank Erwin Award Recipients

Annabelle Cripps: (1986-1989)
14-time all American and valuable member of three NCAA Championship teams, ’86-’88. The 1989 team finished second at the NCAAs. Although not a captain her senior year, Annabelle mentored and fostered the team that had a new incoming coach. Annabelle’s personal experiences have resulted in her founding of Safe4Athletes, the mission of which is to advocate for athletes who have been abused, bullied or harassed by their more powerful coach or teammate. She was also a two-time Olympian for Great Britain, ’84, ’88 and won two silver medals at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

Rip Esselstyn (1982-1986)
Three-time NCAA all-American at Texas, raced as a professional triathlete following graduation and became one of the premier open water swimmers in the sport for over a decade. Rip competed in the St Croix International triathlon eleven times, finished third at the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in 1995, where he was first out of the frigid, shark-infested waters six years in a row. After competing in more than 300 triathlons, Rip broke the master’s national swimming record in the 200-yard backstroke while serving as a firefighter for the City of Austin where he penned the New York Times bestseller The Engine 2 Diet and four years later the number-one New York Times bestseller Plant-Strong: Discover The World’s Healthiest Diet, which has been followed by two more books. Rip continues as a crusader for leading a whole food, plant-based lifestyle as a healthy eating partner with Whole Foods Market stores. He is also the host of the award-winning podcast, Plant-Strong. Still going strong, Rip set the world-record for the 200m backstroke for men 55 to 59 this summer.

Bryan Jones (1997-2000)
22-time all-American, four-time NCAA champion and 15-time Big XII Conference champion in his four years at Texas, as well as the captain of the 2000 National Championship team. He is a former world and American record holder, U.S. national champion and a medalist representing the United States in two world championships, as well as the Pan Pacs, World University Games and Goodwill Games. Jones was also a GTE Academic all-American. He holds Engineering BS, MBA, and JD degrees, all from UT. He is also the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Young Texas Ex award from the Texas Exes. Additionally, Jones was a member of the Executive Committee of USA Swimming for several years. He is now an entrepreneur, having started several businesses and currently serves as founding managing partner of 787 Ventures.

Claire Sanders McCall: (1983-1986)
Named co-captain her senior year, leading the team to its third-straight NCAA championships. Member of four Southwest Conference championship teams. Claire has been board chair of their local swim club in Nashville, TN, and helped start a new club. She and her husband, fellow Longhorn swimmer Glenn McCall, share their experiences with their children who swim and are active in the club as meet directors, hospitality chairs, timers, volunteers, strategists, advocates and even as Glenn serving as coach. Both Claire and Glen are extremely loyal WETS members and return to Austin often to cheer on the Horns.

Terri Seipel-Hinojosa: (1991-1994)
A most impressive diving career under Mike Brown and the Longhorn Diving Club. At age 12, she was voted Texas Diver of the Year. As a UT freshman she was a four-time all-American, finishing seventh at NCAAs on platform to help the team win the 1991 NCAA Championship. As a sophomore, she improved to fourth on platform at the NCAA meet. As a junior she helped the team by finaling on both 3-meter and platform. She earned a place on the USA national team at the 1993 U.S. nationals and participated in the Olympic Trials. Her career was cut short by a shoulder injury her senior year, but she went on to pursue a second undergraduate degree in special education followed by a master’s in educational administration and a certification in school counseling. Terri uses her background of leadership, mindfulness and growth mindset in her school counseling career in Leander ISD. She has a passion for helping others aspire to be their best self through empowering each child to rise and persevere through any challenge. She lives in Austin with her husband JoJo, former pitcher for the UT baseball team ’92-’96 and twin girls: Madi and Abby, and son Brock.

Off Deck Heroes: Chuck Warner and Dana Abbott
Both were on Eddie Reese’s first coaching staff at Texas. Both went on to very successful coaching careers. Chuck with Dana’s help just recently published “Eddie Reese – Coaching Swimming, Teaching Life.” They are donating a portion of every book to the Eddie Reese/Kris Kubik Legacy Fund. The Legacy Edition book sales raised $20,000.00 alone and in just ten days of sales. Their goal is to raise $1 million dollars for the fund through book sales.

Chuck Warner was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, where he grew up learning and competing in swimming at Yale University in the shadow of five-time Olympic Coach Bob Kiphuth. Since serving as an assistant coach under Eddie Reese at Texas, he has coached three USA National Teams, three runner-up NCAA DII Teams and seven National-Y Championship Teams. Chuck has authored numerous magazine and website articles and three books: Four Champions, One Gold Medal (’99), And Then They Won Gold (2012) and most recently Eddie Reese: Coaching Swimming, Teaching Life. Warner is the proud father of rising senior Annie Warner, at the University of Florida, owns a Swim Academy teaching more than 1,000 students weekly and volunteers time with the American Swimming Coaches Assn. and other organizations.

Dana Abbott is a native of Miami, Florida, and swam at Tulane University for Dick Bower. After starting grad school at Texas in 1978, he worked as an assistant coach with Eddie Reese 1978-80, then was head coach at Katy (TX) High School and St. John XXIII College Preparatory for a total of 37 years. Dana has been a speaker/clinician locally, nationally, and internationally, president of TISCA (TX) and twice president of NISCA. Before their joint effort in Eddie Reese: Coaching Swimming, Teaching Life, he previously worked with Chuck Warner on And Then They Won Gold and several articles in Swimming World and the ASCA Magazine. Abbott is a long-time volunteer mentor for at-risk students in Katy, Texas, and currently mentors numerous swim coaches in the Katy area. He is active in animal rescue and likes tinkering with classic cars.

Diving News by Matt Scoggin

Nationals was a success. Alison Gibson won a synchro national 3m title and qualified for the world championship team as well as Murphy Bromberg winning a national championship on 10m synchro. They both head to Korea for worlds in early July.

I was named as a Team USA coach for these world championships. Meghan O’Brien was a finalist at nationals and qualified for world university games on 1m and 3m synchro. Jacob Cornish was second at nationals in 3m synchro and qualified for world university games. Jordan Windle qualified for world university games placing third on 3m. Grayson Campbell was third on 1m at nationals, and the women’s team won the women’s national team title. The men and women won the combined men’s and women’s team title at nationals.

Women’s Swim Team News by Carol Capitani

Evie Pfeifer, Grace Ariola and Claire Adams headed to Naples on Saturday to compete for Team USA in the World University Games! Carol Capitani is going as an assistant coach as well. Remedy Rule and Joanna Evans will be headed to World Championships in South Korea later this month, and Roric is going as head coach of the Bahamas! Remedy will be competing for the Philippines and Joanna for the Bahamas.Everyone else is getting geared up for Nationals in Palo Alto!

Men’s Swim News by Wyatt Collins

We have four guys heading to Naples, Italy, later this week to compete at World University Games. John Shebat, Austin Katz, Jeff Newkirk and Tate Jackson will be representing Texas abroad. Wyatt Collins will also be on staff as an assistant for the men’s team. Townley Haas, Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger will travel to South Korea for World Championships later in July. Finally, we have Drew Kibler, Will Licon, and Sam Pomajevich traveling to Peru for Pan American Games in early August. The rest of the team will be gearing up for Nationals in Palo Alto that begin in late July!

WETSPOTS…..

If any of you have pictures, news or address changes; please send to WETS or email me:

Jill Sterkel () is keeping up with all email addresses and getting news out to all of us. Please let her know your email and mailing address so she can continue to build a great support base for Longhorn Swimming and Diving. Tex always said that Jill was one of the greatest heroes in Texas Swimming history and we are so pleased she continues to give back so much. Tex would have to say Hook’em, Attawaytogo and here is your candy cigar!!

I am sure everyone is excited to see construction begin on the new outdoor pool. Will be fun to watch the progress and visit the site in September. It’s been on the drawing board and funded several times… Thanks to Chris Del Conte for pushing this through and making this dream come true of our coaches and athletes… Next big push will be locker rooms and a diving dry land facility… How about that fantastic Eddie Reese Book!!! They will plan on having lots of copies on hand for you to sign at our annual reunion…Chuck () and Dana’s () big goal is to be able to donate ONE MILLION DOLLARS to The University of Texas Eddie Reese & Kris Kubik Men’s Swimming & Diving Legacy Campaign. That translates into selling 170,000 copies of the softcover book “EDDIE REESE: Coaching Swimming, Teaching Life.” That’s a big number, but it can be done! (Sales of the limited Legacy Edition and an additional 100 hardcovers printed for the NCAAs have already generated approximately $23,000 for the fund.) Book promotion is primarily word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as a dedicated website, http://www.eddiereesebook.com, but we need YOUR help as well. Help with social media or any connections to any “Book of the Month Club” would be a huge boost, as well as sharing on your own social media pages! These books make great gifts, too!

The book has been featured in the USA Swimming magazine SPLASH, and received a great review in the May/June NISCA Journal. Chuck and Dana were interviewed about the book on the Chris Ritter podcast just prior to this year’s NCAAs (https://rittersp.com/podcast/eddie-reese-coaching-swimming-teaching-life-chuck-warner-and-dana-abbott) and it is just incredible!

It’s been almost 20 years ago when Longhorn diving star Laura Wilkinson won the Olympic Gold medal. The mom of four wants one more shot at GOLD. See this great story about her quest: https://abc11.com/sports/olympic-champion-41-and-mom-of-4-wants-one-more-dive-at-gold/5335394/ We are all cheering for you!!! … Wish I had more time or pages to brag about Longhorn Swimming past, present, and future… Let’s all try to unite September 20th-22nd in Austin!! Calling all ‘9s… Don’t forget to reserve your spot for the WETS banquet and the Tailgate Reunion… Would be great to see these men for their 30-year reunion as well as everyone else in September!!

Swimcerely,
Bill Robertson