UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection
A Finding Aid to the Collection at the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports
UT Athletics Media Relations and Women's Swimming and Diving Team
The UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection was created and maintained by the Media Relations office of The University of Texas at Austin’s Athletics Department. The office is located within the Darrell K. Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium complex, and reports to the Deputy Director of Athletics.
The University of Texas Athletics Media Relations office serves as principal media liaison for all University of Texas intercollegiate athletics programs including the Women’s Swimming and Diving Program. The University of Texas Athletics Media Relations office describes its role as, to “actively publicize and promote the positive aspects and manage the media demands of all University of Texas intercollegiate athletics programs.” This includes the creation and distribution of media guides, sports media fact books, press releases, photographs, maintenance of texassports.com and management of UT Athletics social media presence. The Media Relations Office is in charge of distributing media credentials for home events. It also serves as liaison for coaches, student-athletes and staff with media and conferences, NCAA and departmental contacts.
The Women’s Swimming and Diving Program at the University of Texas at Austin was established in 1969. Prior to 1969, swimming and diving for women had been non-competitive. Little information about UT’s early swimming and dive club exists before Anna Hiss became an instructor at UT in 1918. In 1919, the Texas Turtle Swimming Club became the first women’s club organized under the Women’s Athletic Association, with Anna Hiss serving as the faculty sponsor. In 1963, Rosemary Slacks took over as faculty sponsor, and officially became the first women’s swimming and diving coach during the 1969–1970 season when the program made the switch from a club to a competitive intercollegiate team. That same season, she led the team to win the first Southwest Conference Women’s Swimming Championship held at UT. The Women’s team initially competed in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championships, but ultimately committed to the NCAA.
Passage of Title IX in 1972 brought many changes to women’s intercollegiate athletics. In order to comply with Title IX, the Athletics Council at the University of Texas recommended a separate Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women with a Women’s Athletics Council and an Athletics Director for Women. In 1975, the university hired Donna Lopiano as its first director of Women’s Athletics. Under Lopiano’s tenure from 1975 to 1992, the amount of university funding allocated to women’s sports greatly increased.
In 1977, the Texas Swimming Center was opened. Modeled on the pool for the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the presence of a world class swimming facility at the University of Texas led to the school hosting many national and international events including the USSR vs USA Dual Swimming meet in 1978, United States Olympic Diving Trials in 1980, US Swimming International Meet in 1984 and the Phillips 66/United States Swimming Long Course National Championships and United States Olympic Team Selection Meet in 1988.
In 1978, the university hired Paul Bergen as the first full-time coach for women’s swimming and diving. During his time at the University, the women he coached included world record holders, and rivals, Joan Pennington and Jill Sterkel. Bergen served as Assistant Swimming Coach for Team USA in 1980 and was instrumental in bringing the 1980 Olympic Diving trials to UT. In 1982, Richard Quick was appointed head coach. He led the team to five consecutive NCAA titles (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988), the longest women’s winning streak at that time. He also served on the coaching staff for Team USA in five Olympic Games. Mark Schubert served as head coach from 1988 to 1991.
In 1992, Jill Sterkel became head coach, a position she held until 2006. She had been co-head coach with Mike Walker from 2000. Prior to that, she had been assistant coach since 1986. Sterkel’s tenure saw success for the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team. However, she is probably better known for her achievements as a swimmer. She won her first Olympic gold medal in 1976 as a member of the 4 × 100-meter Freestyle relay, beating the much-favored East Germany. She qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but Team USA boycotted the USSR-hosted event. Sterkel received the Broderick Cup Award for the nation’s best female college athlete for 1980-81. She would go on to win three more medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. In April of 2000, she became one of 10 inaugural inductees in the Texas Women's Athletics Hall of Honor. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2003.
Mike Brown was coach of the Diving Team from 1976 to 1994. In his eighteen years as coach, he was named National Diving Coach of the Year three times and was part of 14 national championship and 31 conference championship teams at UT. He was inducted into UT Women’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2012. He served as Diving Coach for Team USA in the 1988 and the 1992 Olympics, and was inducted into the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1994, Matt Scoggin took over as Diving coach for both the Men’s and Women’s teams. He served as USA Diving Olympics Additional and Personal Coach in 2012.
The Swimming and Diving Team competes in the NCAA Division I. The team competed in the Southwest Conference until 1996 when the University of Texas, along with Baylor University, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University, left the conference to form the Big 12 Conference with eight other schools.
In the 2000s, as the number of foreign students swimming for the university increased, there was debate about whether there should be a limit to the number of non-Americans being given scholarships to compete for the university, with some feeling deserving Americans were being denied spots by foreigners who would swim for other countries in major international competition like the Olympics. Regardless, the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team has produced Olympians both for the United States and foreign countries.
As of November 2016, the Women’s Swimming and Diving program has produced 44 Olympians representing 12 countries and winning 23 medals. Jill Sterkel won four medals for Team USA over three Olympic games. Joscelin Yeo represented Singapore in four Olympic games, a record at the time for her country. In 2000, Laura Wilkinson won gold for USA in the 10m platform diving event, while her Texas teammate Vera Ilyina won gold for Russia in the synchronized 3 metre springboard event.
UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection: 7 Boxes, 168 Folders: 27 season binders, 31 media guides, 1974-2008
The collection documents the University of Texas at Austin’s Women’s Swimming and Diving program between 1974 and 2008. The majority of the material covers the years between 1977 and 2006. These records were primarily generated during the swimming and diving seasons to record athlete results, improvements, and meet results. The UT Athletics Media Relations department also collected published programs, press materials, and other publicity publications related to the program as a whole, as well as to coaches, student athletes, and alumni. Documents include practice and meet times and compare UT student athlete times with the times of other athletes.
Included in the collection are season binders created by the coaches that include team rosters, schedules, time sheets, meet results, and press releases. There are also publicity materials including athlete materials, programs for meets in which the team competed, meet results, postseason results, and articles. Published media guides are also included, which provide overall UT swimming and diving promotional information including rosters, schedules, honors and awards, best times, biographies of staff and student athletes, and lists of Longhorn Olympians. The collection also includes newspaper clippings relating to the 1974 through 2008 seasons, primarily from UT’s The Daily Texan, and including other state and national newspaper articles, as well as online articles from websites including ESPN.com and other sports news sites.
Access to the UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection is restricted to visitors of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. The Stark Center welcomes access inquires and encourages research appointments. For more information, phone (512) 471-4890, email , or visit .
Restrictions on Use
The Stark Center retains the right to limit the use of the UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection under certain conditions. Access to student records containing information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is restricted. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission. Some restricted items may be available at the discretion of the Stark Center. Redacted versions of restricted materials may be made available. No copies of any materials in the collection may be made without permission.
The user is cautioned that the publication of any of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of an author or his publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing. This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Right to Privacy: Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center and the University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
UT Athletics Media Relations Women’s Swimming and Diving Collection, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports, The University of Texas at Austin. [There is no space between H.&J.]
Collection processed in 2016 by Erin Harbour, Elle Covington, and Chido Muchemwa under the supervision of Brent Sipes, Stark Center Digital Archivist. For information about the content of the collection, please write , call 512-471-4890, or visit .
Erin Harbour, Elle Covington, and Chido Muchemwa under the supervision of Brent Sipes, 2015