COLLEGE STATION, TX — Alex Dawson, Texas A&M’s director of operations for swimming and diving, will be heading to the Olympics in Tokyo this year as the new team manager for USA Swimming.
While spectators watch athletes and coaches in the pool, Dawson will be the man behind scenes, making sure the team is fully functional. An Aggie alumnus and former student-athlete in his own right, Dawson has been involved in the world of competitive swimming since childhood. For the past 14 years, he’s served as director of operations over Texas A&M's prize-winning water sports teams.
"I work with the athletes directly in everything except for practice and competitions... as far as equipment and logistics, apparel, and those types of things," Dawson explained.
Through both his time as a student and his career at A&M, Dawson has had opportunities to serve USA Swimming in one professional capacity or another, taking care of athletes there, much as he’s done in Aggieland. In 2019, he received the offer of a lifetime, assigned a team manager position for the 2020 American Olympic team headed to Tokyo.
"We’re very proud of him," said Casey Dawson, Alex Dawson's wife. "We’ve been kind of holding on to this secret for a year and a half now. So when he finally showed me the press release [Sunday], I was like, 'okay – I can finally tell people!'”
Alex Dawson's duties to assist the team will be many, as he works first with training sessions in Honolulu before following the team to the Olympic village in Tokyo.
"A lot of what I do here as director of operations for Texas A&M, and what a team manager does as a national team - it’s a lot of the things that aren’t very important until they are," Dawson said. "You know, [someone says], ‘oh, my goggles broke.’ Oh, well. If I’m not there with something to help right away at that moment, too bad – you don’t have goggles.”
With the pandemic postponing his journey, the family of four has been highly anticipating this summer. Dawson’s wife Casey, a kindergarten teacher for Bryan ISD, says that although her husband’s presence will be missed for the weeks he’s gone, she and the couple’s two children will be excited to turn on the TV and see Dawson’s athletes shine.
“We are here in the United States," Casey commented. "And the fact that he’s there living it; it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Olympic trials for swimmers will take place in two rounds, the first of which starts this Friday in Omaha, Nebraska. Only time will tell if Dawson will be able to witness firsthand one of his own student-athletes matching a gold medal to their golden Aggie ring.
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