In 1998 Graham was inducted into The International Swimming Hall of Fame (“ISHOF”) at age 67. During this period while swimming in the 65-69 age group, Graham held every national record at every freestyle distance from 100 yards in the pool to the 10k open water swim. He was the first and at the time only person to hold all seven United States masters national long-distance swimming records in any age group. In 2001, he was voted masters swimmer of the year. Graham was not only a regular participant at national and world championships with Janis at his side, but he also loved open water swimming and won the oldest open water swim in the country, the Waikiki Rough Water Swim eight years in a row from 1993 to 2000. He was the first swimmer over the age 60 to complete the swim in under an hour. He was the oldest and fastest of all age groups to complete the Robben Island to Capetown, South Africa swim in 51-degree water without a wetsuit. Graham also enjoyed the Lanai to Maui Channel relay and at age 74 became the oldest man to swim the Straits of Gibraltar. Simply put Graham loved to swim, anytime, anywhere.
Graham was inducted into the Texas Swimming and Diving hall of Fame in 2009, the National Senior Games Hall of Fame in 2011, and, the Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame in 2012. Graham was the epitome of masters swimming and truly one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors. The Dad’s Club of Houston, where he trained, and Graham are synonymous. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jim Montgomery summed-up Graham’s swimming career well:
“Spanning over seven decades Graham was truly one of the greatest competitive swimmers of all time”.
Courtesy of Swimming World Magazine
In 1997 Graham was a member of the Aquatic committee when Houston was vying to host the Olympics. The committee had grand plans for a competitive pool, but when Houston lost the Olympics bid, the Aquatic Center never came to fruition. Graham never lost his dream of bringing an Aquatic Center to Houston and encouraged us to form a committee and revive the drive to get Houston the public competitive pool this great city deserves.
With Graham motivating us, in 2018 we formed a non-profit organization and started raising funds for the pool.
We hope that one of the pools in the Aquatic Center will be named the GRAHAM JOHNSTON POOL so that all those who swim in it will remember our hero, Graham.
Either click the DONATE button below or make checks payable to:
Bayou City Aquatic Center
and mail to
5831 Picasso Pl.
Houston, TX 77096
Bayou City Aquatic Center has 501(c)(3) status and all donations are tax deductible
Our Need For an Aquatic Center in Graham's Words: “I have lived in Houston for over 35 years. During that time not a single public 50m pool has been built. I swam at the JCC for a few years before joining the Dad’ Club where I have trained for the past 24 years.
Considering the size of Houston it is deplorable that a smaller City like San Antonio offers at least five 50 meter pools available to master’s swimming.
San Antonio and Austin both offer several 25 yard and 50 meter competition pools. The closest 50m competition pool is now in Conroe. Consider the value of holding swimming meets for all ages from eight years old to masters who sometimes reach their 90s. This brings in tremendous amount of income for hotels, rents cars, food and entertainment. This would be an attractive venue to produce a great deal of income and prestige for the city of Houston. Considering the fact that we have magnificent stadiums for football, basketball baseball and now soccer, it’s about time Houston had a competitive pool. The lack of an aquatic center indicates to the rest of the country that Houston does not really care to enhance the fitness and wellness of our citizens. There are many drownings in Houston every year. We were fortunate with Hurricane Harvey to have not lost more people due to drowning. Since the 500 year hurricane season is going to continue to get worse in the future, Houston should make this a priority . This Aquatic Center would be a wonderful place for teaching children and adults before they succumb to drowning” Graham Johnston
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