Tex Robertson Tex Robertson

By Pam LeBlanc

The way Tex Robertson sees it, if he keeps swimming long enough, they'll have to create a new age group for him.

Robertson, a 1932 Olympian, an All-American swimmer from the University of Michigan and former Longhorn swim coach, already has collected so many awards that he can't keep count any more. But at 92, he's not about to quit.

Tex Robertson

The way Robertson tells the story, he learned to swim in a muddy creek one spring when he was 12. When summer came and the sun dried things out, he switched to a horse trough.

Apparently, the training worked.

Robertson later swam at the University of Michigan in the 1930s, specializing first in the 50-yard freestyle and later in the 220 and 440 freestyle.

After college, he moved to Austin to coach the University of Texas swim team. During his tenure from 1935-1950, his teams won 13 Southwest Conference titles. He also coached Adolph Kiefer, who won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Robertson, with his wife Pat, later started Camp Longhorn on Inks Lake in Burnet.

Tex & Pat

And at age 70, he got back in the water as a competitive swimmer, joining the U.S. Master's Swimming program. "Before that I tapered for 37 years after getting out of college," he said.

He holds numerous age group records, including those for the 50-meter freestyle, 57.55; the 100-meter freestyle, 2:20.20; the 200-meter freestyle, 5:24.60; the 50-meter backstroke, 1:23.69; and the 100-meter backstroke, 3:00.30, all set in 2000, when he was 91.

Relay Team

Robertson and three other 90-something swimmers still race in the 200 freestyle and medley relays at masters meets, although they've missed recent meets because of injuries.

"The average age of my competition in the 90 to 95 age group is deceased," he jokes.

Tex had knee and hip replacement last summer, but just prior to national competition he fell and broke the bone between the two. Just as the injury healed, he broke his leg again.

Still, he says the injury hasn't slowed him down. And, if you were around Camp Longhorn you'd know that were true. Tex still has his hand in the everyday workings of his camp. And, as for his swimming–he still swims for exercise, and plans to compete again.

"If you see an old guy up there drooping on one side, that's me," he said. "I'll be the oldest guy in the nationals, and I'll swim on the relay."

He says he sticks with swimming for two reasons č he loves it and it keeps him alive.

LeBlanc is a staff writer for the Austin American-Statesman and swims with TeamTexas.

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