Michigan to Host Olympic Twitter Q&A Series Monday

Feb. 13, 2014

Tweeters and Best

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- On Monday (Feb. 17), the University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team will host a series of Twitter Q&As with former swimmers and U.S. Olympians -- titled Tweeters and Best -- in advance of the Big Ten Championships, which will be held at Canham Natatorium the following week. The participants include current senior swimmer Connor Jaeger, former swimmers Tyler Clary, Peter Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater and Charlie Houchin and current head swimming coach Mike Bottom.

In addition to the Q&As, special prizes will be given away throughout the day, which starts at 9 a.m. Prizes include Big Ten Championships All-Session passes, tickets to the final two men's basketball home games (March 1 vs. Minnesota, March 8 vs. Indiana), tickets to football's 2014 home opener against Appalachian State (Aug. 30) and other Michigan swimming and diving gear, including swim caps, t-shirts, and more. These prizes will be awarded to @umichswimdive followers only.

To participate in the Q&As throughout the day, be sure to mention the hashtag below which corresponds to each Olympian in your question, answers will only be provided for those following @umichswimdive. To join in on the conversation throughout the day, use hashtag #TweetersAndBest.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES EASTERN; SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
9-9:30 a.m. -- Peter Vanderkaay #AskPVK
10-10:30 a.m. -- Davis Tarwater #AskDavis
11-11:30 a.m. -- Head coach Mike Bottom #AskBottom
2-2:30 p.m. -- Connor Jaeger #AskJaeger
3-3:30 p.m. -- Charlie Houchin #AskHouchin
4:30-5 p.m. -- Tyler Clary #AskClary

Peter Vanderkaay (2003-06) swam for the United States at three Olympic Games. He won gold medals as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay teams at the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2008 Games in Beijing. He also captured individual bronze medals at the 2008 Games and in the 2012 Games in London. The second of four brothers to swim at Michigan, Vanderkaay was a five-time NCAA champion, 10-time Big Ten individual champion and was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year three times.

Davis Tarwater (2003-06) was a participant at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, earning a gold medal as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay team (swam the preliminaries). He is one of the best 200-yard butterfliers in the history of the program, winning back-to-back national titles (2005-06) to go along with three consecutive conference titles (2004-06). He also won a national championship as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay in 2004 with Vanderkaay (in meters due to an Olympic year) and was the Michigan's Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient in 2006.

Head swimming coach Mike Bottom (2008-Present) is in his sixth year as a member of the Michigan coaching staff and second year as combined head coach for the men's and women's swimming and diving teams. He has led the men's program to four Big Ten championships in his first five seasons and the program's 12th national championship in 2013. For his efforts in leading Michigan to that title, he was named 2013 CSCAA Coach of the Year. One of the most well-respected coaches in the world, Bottom twice represented the United States in international competitions last year, serving as the head coach for Team USA at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, and later as an assistant coach at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. He has coached athletes in the last five Olympics and was a member himself of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that boycotted the Games in Moscow.

Senior Connor Jaeger (2011-Present) has broken out to become one of the best distance swimmers in the world. Last season, Jaeger won national championships in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle en route to being named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and 2012-13 University of Michigan Male Athlete of the Year. He enters his final championships season looking to build on his seven NCAA All-America honors and six Big Ten championships. He made his Olympic debut at the 2012 Games in London, swimming the 1,500-meter freestyle, finishing sixth. His stock continues to rise, though, as evident by his bronze-medal finish in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. He also took fourth in both the 800-meter freestyle and 1,500-meter freestyle.

Charlie Houchin (2007-10) has evolved into an elite swimmer after graduating from Michigan. He has been involved with Team USA since 2010, competing at the last two FINA World Championships and the 2012 London Olympics, where he won a gold medal on the 800-meter freestyle relay (swimming the preliminaries). He won an additional gold as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay team as last summer's FINA World Championships in Barcelona. Like Clary and Jaeger, Houchin is a current member of the U.S. National Team.

Despite swimming one less year than his counterparts on this list, Tyler Clary (2008-10) accomplished many things at Michigan. He was a three-time national champion, winning back-to-back titles in the 400-yard IM (2009-10) and an additional title in the 200-yard backstroke (2009). In three years, he was a 10-time NCAA All-American, five of those honors coming in 2009 when he was named NCAA and Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. He was one of the best swimmers to ever compete in the Big Ten, winning six individual conference titles, while still holding three conference records (200-yard backstroke, 200-yard IM, 400-yard IM). His first appearance at the Olympics came in 2012, where he won a gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke. He now trains with Club Wolverine in Ann Arbor.

The Big Ten Championships will run from Wednesday, Feb. 26, to Saturday, March 1, at Canham Natatorium. On all the days except Wednesday, preliminaries begin at 11 a.m., with finals at 6:30 p.m. All-session passes are on sale now. To purchase, visit www.MGoBlue.com/tickets or call (866) 296-MTIX.

Contact: Brad Rudner (brudner@umich.edu)