Texas A&M’s first Olympic swimming medalist Tetsuo Okamoto passed away on Monday, Oct. 1 at age 75, Swimming World magazine reported today.
Okamoto, who swam for Art Adamson’s Aggies from 1956-58, won Brazil’s first-ever Olympic medal with a third-place finish in the 1,500 freestyle at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Okamoto’s time of 18:51 in his bronze medal effort was also the first sub-20-minute time in the 1,500 by a South American.
Swimming for the Aggies, Okamoto was a four-time All-American (twice in the 400 and 1,500 freestyles) and four-time Southwest Conference Champion (440 freestyle in 1956, and the 220, 440 and 1,500 freestyles in 1957).
Okamoto's bronze at the Olympics was not his only international success. He doubled with a pair of triumphs in the 400 and 1500 free at the 1951 Pan American Games held in Buenos Aires. He also helped Brazil to a silver medal in the 800 freestyle relay that year.