Ashley Morrison's Blog

August 10, 2018

Lane 5.

Each year on the University of Houston swimming & diving team there would have been around 40 of us in total – approximately 10 would have been divers – so in the pool that would have meant there would have been about 5 of us in each of the 6 lanes during training.
Lane 5 was the lane I remember swimming in – along with Billy, who I recently talked about meeting here: Billy, it’s Ashley and Ashley – and Andrew Gray, who was a very good long-distance swimmer from South Africa, who can be seen here…
Christina Anderson (Christina Ica Hörbäck) and Andrew Gray playing on one of the mats in the diving pool at the Universtiy of Houston.
.. with Christina from Sweden – who I remember we called the “Strawberry Girl” – but don’t ask me why, as my memory isn’t that good

Anyway, since signing up to Facebook back in 2009 and saying “Hi” once again to many of those who were on that team, Christina was obviously someone who I became “Friends” with and have followed ever since – especially since she was clearly still swimming, which in turn (unknown to her) inspired me to get back into the pool as well.
So naturally when she wrote to say that she (along with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, sister, Annis, and her husband, Philip Josefson) would be coming to Ireland for a few days, the answer was: “Yes, I would love to meet up” even before she asked

And where better to meet than at McDonald’s…
With Christina outside McDonald's at Sprucefield Shopping Centre, which is where we meet before I drove them all into Belfast and around the north of Ireland over the next few days.
.. because besides occasionally looking at all the pictures I took of everyone back then – many of which I have posted here on Facebook: University of Houston swim team 1979 to 1983 – nothing reminds me more of all the wonderful times we had together, than seeing those Golden Arches.

Anyway, after booking them into the Europa Hotel – which this book that my work can be seen in…
The book called 'In the Headlines' - the story of the Belfast Europa Hotel - by Clive Scoular.
.. tells the story about how it was once known as the “most bombed hotel in the world” – they all piled into the Land Rover and I drove them along the scenic Antrim Coast Road towards the Giant’s Causeway – where I enjoyed taking lots of pictures of them…
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and Annis' husband, Philip Josefson, at the Giant's Causeway.
.. taking pictures of themselves…
Christina at the Giant's Causeway.
.. as well as of the Causeway itself …
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the Giant's Causeway.
.. before heading to the Dark Hedges
Christina with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and her husband, Philip Josefson, at the Dark Hedges which has been used as a location in HBO's popular television series Game of Thrones.
.. which has been used as a location in HBO’s popular television series Game of Thrones
Christina with her husband, Bjorn Hörbäck, her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, and her husband, Philip Josefson, at the Dark Hedges which has been used as a location in HBO's popular television series Game of Thrones.
.. as that was on the road back to Belfast. Were we enjoyed a lovely meal in the Europa, before heading across the road to the Crown Bar, as a few pints of Hop House 13 awaited

Next day I first drove Christina and her sister, Annis, to see the Peace Wall
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the Peace Wall which separates the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankill Road areas of West Belfast.
.. which separates the nationalist Falls Road and unionist Shankill Road areas of West Belfast…
Christina Ica Hörbäck with her sister, Annis Andersson Josefson, at the 'Peace Wall' .
.. which I hadn’t actually seen myself before – even though it’s now a major tourist attraction – before taking them to Titanic Belfast – which is a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city’s Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built…
Christina Ica Hörbäck at Titanic Belfast.
.. where one can hear the many stories about the ill-fated Titanic, which (as you probably already know) hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912.

Anyway, something which I had completely forgotten (and/or couldn’t have told you), was who else swam in ‘Lane 5’ besides Billy, Andrew and myself.
Well now I know, as it was none other than the unforgettable Christina…
Christina Anderson (Christina Ica Hörbäck) on the mats in the pool at the Universtiy of Houston.
.. a.k.a. the ‘Strawberry Girl’ or ‘Wonder Woman’ – which she was also sometimes known as.

Anyway, just wanted to post this to thank her here for the past few days, as it was not only lovely to see her again…
Christina Ica Hörbäck at the Dark Hedges.
.. but it was also lovely to be able to show her this wee part of the world where it’s believed giants once used to play…
Christina Ica Hörbäck and myself at the Giant's Causeway.
.. which I call my home


June 2, 2018

Making a wish come true.

Back in the early 80’s, I took this picture of the men’s swimming & diving team in the changing rooms at the University of Houston…
Members of the 1982 men's University of Houston swimming and diving team in the changing rooms.
Glen Evans, T.K. Ponder, Ang Peng Siong, Kevin Lee, Hassa Bergqvist, Mike Turner, Wayne Welborne, Nicky Gray, Andrew Back, Kevin Richards, Richard Cahalan, Chip Martoccia, Philip Osborn, Garth Parsons, John Linklater, Ed Pierce, BIlly McGoldrick, Per Matsson, Jeff Farmer, Tom Cook, Iain Campbell, Sven Schultz, Andrew Chandler, Ulf Peters, Kevin Evans, Simon Draver and Andrew Gray at University of Houston.
.. which includes many of the guys that I have stayed in touch with over the years – thanks mainly to Mike Collins (who was on the Track & Field team) as he suggested a number of years ago that we all become “Friends” on Facebook.

Which in turn then naturally lead me to open ‘The Box’ which contains all the prints and negative I had taken back then – as well as newspaper cutting, scrapbooks and lots of other stuff from around that time in my life too… which I would refer to as “My swimming years”.

Anyway, after years of saying I would love to meet up with all of these guys again, this year I finally made a start at making that wish come true.

Tom Cook, who can be seen here on the pool deck at the Universtiy of Houston…
Tom Cook at the Universtiy of Houston swimming pool.
.. is definitely one of the guys on that list – and so when he contacted me to say that his wife, Lisa, and son, GreySun, were coming over to Ireland for a few days, the answer was “Yes, I would love to meet them” even before he had to ask

And so it was, as you can see at the Old Bushmills Distillery
On the 18th of May 2018 Lisa Tanner Cook posted this picture of me with her and her son GreySun Stattin at the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim.
.. in County Antrim.

“Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at Ireland’s oldest working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on the beautiful North Coast. Our original grant to distil was signed in 1608 by King James 1st and there has been distillation on this site since then, using the unique water from our own stream and Irish barley.”

Plus, at the Giant’s Causeway
On the 18th of May 2018 Lisa Tanner Cook posted this picture of me with her and her son GreySun Stattin at the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim.
.. “Shaka Brah!” Tom.

“Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. Is it the handiwork of legendary giant Finn McCool or the result of volcanic fury millions of years ago?”

Ashley Morrison: It was an honor and a pleasure, Tom – just wish you could have been with them.
So time to work on Plan H… which I will keep you all posted on

Lisa Tanner Cook: … And maybe Plan C 😎🌊🏄‍♂️

Tom Cook: Plan C – California Cook’s

Time to make another wish come true

April 15, 2014

Welcome back to America

After completing our assignment in Spain which I talked about last month – and came back with results that not only the BBC wanted to use but also several other publishing companies too – the next assignment we were offered was in America.

Wow – an opportunity of a lifetime and it would be the first time I would be back in the States since leaving college there back in the 80’s, where I swam for the University of Houston
University of Houston 1983 Bachelor of Fine Arts and swimming ring.
.. and first learned about photography while doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic communications.

Anyway, basically the assignment by the BBC was to shoot a home in Vermont for their up & coming Christmas issue – which was owned by Jackie Ennis, who was also in charge of promoting and marketing New England. So to make it worth our while – since the BBC was really only prepared to pay us for the use of our work, rather than to do the work for them – then we asked Jackie if she could possibly line us up a few more homes – which we would then shoot while we were there with all the gear, etc.

And so it was – Jackie lined up 6 other homes for us to shoot over the 10 day period we were planning on being in New England – the first of which was Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia’s detached beach house in the picturesque town of Mystic
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. where the first shots were taken out at sea…
Rick Dean in Mystic
.. which was an amazing way to start our ‘Welcome back to America’ story smile

The storyline here was:

Maria Sylvia loved her idyllic beach house so much she turned it into a home to use all year round – and called it Seashell Cottage. Although its styling is undeniably New England, Maria has created an interesting home by drawing on her own artistic talents and using a number of themes.

Anyway, I had hired a local assistant called Bob O’Connor – who Calumet had highly recommended when I was hiring the lighting gear – and so while Marie talked to Rick & Maria outside…
Marie McMillen talking to Maria Sylvia & Rick Dean outside their beach house in Mystic.
.. which a took a few quick shots of…
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia sitting outside their beach house in Mystic
.. Bob set up the lights while I started to set-up the camera for the first of the interior shots…
Setting up the living room shot in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. to capture Maria’s love of the Caribbean, which even extended to her multi-colored sofa…
The living room in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. which she sourced in a high street mall it seems.

The Fishy toilet, which Maria had pepped up with a funky tropical fish mural and accessories…
The fishy toilet in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. was amazing – and was naturally a major talking point – but even the bedrooms and especially this one which she called the Lighthouse…
The lighthouse bedroom in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. which was as close to true New England style as it got for them – had Marie & me going Wow !!

Who wouldn’t want to be here…
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia sitting outside their beach house in Mystic
.. and so that was the first of the homes we shot before heading to Cape Cod, to shoot Gene & Rosemary Fuller’s 1930’s cottage, which I’ll talk about later.

So we are back America – and being made to feel very welcome by everyone – loving it and wishing we could stay forever Smile

The BBC, by the way, featured Rick and Maria’s beach house in their July 2007 issue of Good Homes magazine…
Pages 168 to 175 in the July 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine
.. plus it was also featured in Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Pages 12 to 18 in issue 23 of Templeton Robinson's Property life magazine featuring Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house called the Sea Shells in the New England town of Mystic
.. the following year.

So thank you America for welcoming us back, from Marie & me in Mystic.

August 6, 2010

He made Dreams come true..

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 9:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

… and for me it all started back in 1979, when he called one evening out of the blue, to say: get on the first available flight to Houston Ashley.

When I now think back on it all – the rest of the story is unbelievable – a dream come true.
Coach Phill Hansel.
Thanks to this guy – my Coach.

Thank you for some of the greatest years of my life Coach.
May you rest in peace – but live forever in our hearts.

Former Cougar Coaching Legend Phill Hansel Passes Away

HOUSTON – Former University of Houston head coach Phill Hansel – The Father of Cougar Swimming and Diving- died Friday afternoon. He was 85 years old.

Long touted as the most influential man in Cougar swimming and diving, Hansel served as the head of the program from 1957-1996. During that span, he guided the Cougars to more than 70 dual meet wins and ten Top-20 finishes at the AIAW and NCAA Championships.

A 1949 graduate and swimmer of Purdue University, Hansel began his coaching career at Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, Ore., following graduation.

He would then move to Houston and was given the task of assembling the University’s first team. The following year, with a wealth of recruits, Hansel was told the program would be dropped because a lack of funding, but that did not hamper the coach. Hansel would go on and coach the University of Houston swim club, and in 1959, they finished second at the AAU National Championships.

Under Hansel’s guidance in 1959 was the 18-time national champion, Carin Cone. She would go on to become the first UH athlete to appear on Sports Illustrated on April 18, 1960.

In 1971, Houston reinstated the swimming program, and Hansel led the Cougars’ men’s team. The women’s program would begin its first season in 1975.

Under his guidance, the Cougars recorded ten-consecutive Top 20 finishes from 1976-1981. He also coached Diane Johannigman (1978-81), Beverly Rose (1983-86), Anne Jardin (1977-81), Nicola Fibbens (1983-86), Ingrid Lawrence (1981-84), Cory Schia (1977-80), Katy Archer (1982-84) and Olivia Clark (1982-84) to a combined 120 All-America honors.

Hansel was also a three-time recipient of the Southwest Conference Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year award. He closed out his career at UH in 1996 with more than 39 years of experience and was recognized as one of the most successful collegiate swim coaches in the nation.

In 1986, he also became a columnist for Swimming World Magazine and was on the staff of the first annual US Pan-Pacific team. Hansel also managed the US Swimming Team in 1992 that won 27 medals, 11 of which were gold in the Barcelona Olympic Games. He also coached the Singapore Olympic Team in 1984 and was an assistant in 1988.
In addition to his coaching duties, Hansel served on the US Olympic Swimming Committee in 1992.
Hansel also coached the Shamrock Hilton Club from 1958-68 and the Houston Swim club.

Hansel was inducted into the Hall of Honor on Nov. 14, 2008.

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