Bottom Named Head Coach for Michigan Swimming and Diving Programs

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created August 10th, 2012 01:19:44 PM

Modified August 10th, 2012 01:19:44 PM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon announced today (Friday, Aug. 10) the combining of the men's and women's swimming and diving programs and that Mike Bottom has been named the head coach for both teams. Bottom is beginning his fifth season at Michigan and has led the men's swimming program to three of the last four Big Ten championships and four straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

"I can think of no better person to lead our swimming and diving programs than Mike Bottom," said Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "Mike brings a wealth of experience at the collegiate, international and Olympic levels. He has led our men's program to a championship level and will work to return our women's program to that same level. Our aquatic programs have a rich history and tradition at all levels, and high expectations will continue under Mike's leadership.

"This announcement is the beginning of a substantial commitment to our swimming and diving programs," added Brandon. "We plan to make a significant investment at Canham Natatorium in the near future. It's the right time to combine our programs and to utilize Mike's talents for the benefit of Michigan Swimming and Diving."

"This is really a great opportunity and advantage for both of our programs, and the student-athletes should be the ultimate beneficiary," said Bottom. "We will have the opportunity to add excellent coaches to our current staff. We can combine the administrative work that has been done by both the men's and women's staffs and allow the coaches to focus more on the training, coaching and mentoring of the student-athletes. The future looks bright for the men and women associated with Michigan Swimming and Diving."

The men's swimming and diving team won the 2012 Big Ten championship and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships -- its highest finish since 2004 -- with 17 swimmers earning a total of 37 NCAA All-America honors or All-America honorable mention. The Michigan women's swimming and diving team, which placed eighth at the 2012 Big Ten Championships, has a rich history, with 14 conference titles in the past 27 years under recently retired head coach Jim Richardson.

Bottom has coached 45 Big Ten champions during his four-year tenure, including 11 in each of the last two seasons. Bottom, the reigning three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, has a wealth of collegiate and international coaching experience, having coached at the last five Olympic Games, including serving as the head coach for the Serbian National Team at the 2012 Olympic Games. Bottom has coached several Olympians at Michigan, including Tyler Clary, who recently won the gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke in London. Junior Connor Jaeger was the only current collegiate swimmer on the U.S. men's team to qualify for the Olympic finals, earning sixth place in the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Bottom has coached an elite-level training group since 1996. Among his most notable proteges is 10-time Olympic medalist Gary Hall Jr. Bottom coached the top two finishers in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, with Hall (USA) and Duje Draganja (Croatia) placing 1-2 in 2004 (Athens) and Anthony Ervin (USA) and Hall tying for the gold medal in 2000 (Sydney). From the 1996-2004 Olympiads, nine of the 18 medals awarded in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events have been won by Bottom's swimmers. Bottom was also selected as an assistant coach at the FINA World Championship in Rome during the summer of 2009.

At the NCAA level, Bottom has mentored individuals in every stroke to 19 national titles. He spent 10 seasons (1997-2007) at the University of California-Berkeley, serving as co-head coach of the men's team. Prior to moving to Cal, he spent four years as the University of Southern California men's and women's assistant coach (1994-97), helping the women's team to its first NCAA championship in 1997. Bottom began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant with the Auburn men's and women's squads for four seasons (1991-94).

Bottom is putting together a new organizational structure for the Michigan swimming and diving programs, one that includes two associate head coaches and two assistant coaches to support the swim teams. An announcement on the staff appointments will be made on a future date.

Two-thirds of the top 25 collegiate swimming teams have combined their men's and women's swimming programs under one head coach.

Press Release on www.mgoblue.com