Remembering The UT Student Aquatic Center

Thursday, March 16, 2017
A good friend sent me John Shearer's recent article on the Student Aquatic Center. It brought back many memories. I graduated from Baylor in 1969 and first swam in the Aquatic Center in 1968 when the high school state meet was resumed for the first time in many years.

I still remember being awed by the facility. I was fortunate enough to be recruited by Coach Bussard and to swim for him between 1969 and 1973.
It was quite an experience. Every meet was a show and there were many times when the stands were filled.

When Coach Mears replaced his giant “T” with a new one, Bussard got the old one. We would start meets with two girls in orange bikinis holding an American flag in a canoe in the center of the pool. The Timettes would then line up on either side of the “T” and we would run onto the deck. For NCAA’s in 1973, a large grandstand was constructed over the water at the north end that tripled the seating capacity. We had a dual meet against UCLA in January of 1973 and the place was packed.

Bussard was indeed a strict disciplinarian, and even four years at Baylor, which was still military, had not prepared me for him. 

I remember the meet at SMU well when Bussard gave out the coon skin caps. The pool at SMU was an old basketball arena as I recall. They had simply dug a hole in the old court and left the grandstands in place. The place was full and we got thoroughly booed while we warmed up. Our locker room was under the stands and quite smelly and noisy.

Bussard gave us a pep talk about how the last time Tennesseans had come to Texas, they had showed them how to fight. Of course, did not mention the fact that Crockett and his men were all killed! One of the managers then threw out a bag containing the caps Bussard had purchased up in Gatlinburg. We really got booed when we went out on the deck with those on, but it just fired us up! Edgar touched out Jerry Heidenreich on the last leg of the 400 free relay for the win. The two of them were on the same relay the next year at the Munich Olympics.

Henry D. Green Jr.
Atlanta, Ga.

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