Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Former Texas backstroker, Olympic medalist Beth Barr to be inducted into Hall of Honor

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

National champion and 1988 Olympic silver medalist Beth Barr is one of the 11 athletes being inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor on Friday, Sept. 15. 

The backstroke specialist helped lead Texas to a national title in 1991, three years after winning a silver medal in the 4×100 meter medley relay at the Olympic Games in Seoul at age 16. 

“There is always that pride,” Barr said to the Pensacola News Journal. “That pride that you were able to do something that such few people ever experience. And be able to share that with so many people. That is probably the biggest gift.”

In May 1989, Barr suffered a compound fracture of her right arm in a horse-riding accident, resulting in her missing a year of swimming.

“They were trying to save it,” she said about her right arm to The New York Times. “They said if I wasn’t a swimmer, they would have taken it off right then.”

Though some doctors said she would never be able to use her right arm again, seven weeks and two days after the accident she was back in the pool. 

“They said I’ll never be pain-free until I quit swimming,” she told the Times in 1991. “Well, I’ve got three more years of college swimming because I love the Texas team. Then, I’ll do other things.”

Only two years after almost losing her arm, she won the individual 200-yard backstroke for the Longhorns. 

“I’m very proud of what we did at the University of Texas when we won the NCAA Championship,” Barr said to Issuu. “The backstrokers had the full hand in it. We were so close, down to the wire, and I won the 200 back. Then I got second in the 100, and my teammate got first in the 100 and then that completely sealed up our championship. So that felt really, really good.”

Barr is now the owner of Barracuda Swim Works, a swimming school in her hometown of Pensacola, Florida, and aims to ensure safe swimming and drowning prevention for all.

“I have my own curriculum, it’s my own little survival swim method,” Barr said to Issuu. “It’s very simple and easy. I’m actually hoping to get that method taught to other municipalities and other programs.”

In 2021, she supported the new bill in the Florida State Legislature that hopes to promote swimming and water safety lessons for children.

“Think about the children that are alive right now and they are not going to be next week,” she said to Wear News.

The Hall of Honor induction ceremony will be held on Friday at the LBJ Auditorium, where Barr, alongside other Texas athletic legends, will be celebrated.

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