AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over a year after it officially opened, the Eddie Reese Outdoor Pool was officially dedicated on Saturday in honor of the legendary men’s swim coach.
“I kind of feel that burden of representing everyone,” Reese said at the ceremony. “The good thing, I think when I examine what’s happened the last 44, 45 years, and I look at our results, I’ll see it as being maybe something more special than as I see it now. I’m pretty much in the mode of what have you done for me lately? I’m just moving on.”
That’s a question that’s easy to answer. He’s led the Longhorns to five national championships in the past six seasons, excluding 2020 when the national championship meet was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I want them [former Texas swimmers] to know that this wouldn’t have been done without a superb success level in the sport,” Reese said. “If we’d have been 10th every third year and 15th the other times, this wouldn’t be done. So it’s due to the high level that the swimmers provided for the program.”
Ever the humble one, Reese initially tried to turn down the pool being named after him. His first choice was Jeff Heller, a former All-American swimmer at Texas who also served in the Marine Corps who passed away in 2019.
“I know his story,” Reese said of Heller. “He was a hero, swam here, he has given much to the school, engineering and swimming. He just said, ‘No, it will be named after you.’ So I shut up and went on.”
Reese retired following Texas’ most recent national championship in the spring, the 15th in program history, all under Reese tutelage, but he quickly reversed course and announced that he’d come back for another season after just three months of retirement.
“Chris Del Conte was the one that got me back,” Reese said about unretiring. “He started on me in April and didn’t give up. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you tell him. He’s got his own agenda, and he’s really good at it.”