July 1, 2011
Each weekday in the month of July, MGoBlue.com will feature an interview with a U-M head coach. Kicking things off is head men's swimming and diving coach Mike Bottom, who discusses his busy summer and how he juggled cones to get his first job.
What makes the summer in men's swimming and diving so unique?
We train. We train up until our meets, and our big one is U.S. Nationals in the beginning of August. We've got guys going all over the world. Sean Ryan is going to the Open Water National Championships, which essentially serve as the Olympic Trials for him. If he finishes in the top 10, he makes the Olympic team, which is pretty exciting. Several guys are going to the World University Games in the middle of August, and several guys going to nationals.
Why are the summer months so important to the development of your team?
Swimming is an aerobic- and technique-based sport, and you're only going to continue to develop in those areas.
What do you see as the team's biggest strength heading into next season?
The way they've worked this summer. We've had a great body of work this summer. We've got a lot done in the pool as far as technique, and I think we are going to be strong heading into this upcoming season.
What was your first summer job?
My first summer job was after the Olympic Trials sometime in the '70s, and it was at Marriott's Great America. I was a parking lot attendant. I got the job because I could perform for the interview. The guy was not going to hire me, but I grabbed a couple of cones, and I juggled them. I said, 'When you see someone coming into the park, what do you want them to see? Somebody having a great time. And when you leave, what do you want to see? A big smile and a big wave. I could do that.' They hired me on the spot. The guy had already put my application in the 'no' pile. He took it out of the 'no' pile and gave me a job right there.
Do you or did you have any special travel plans this summer?
We're going to Montreal the first week of July, taking 21 guys there. It's a great foreign trip for us, and we're going to be there for four days. I'll be heading to China in two weeks for the world championships. I have several foreign swimmers there that I'll be with, and after that, we go to nationals. And after nationals, it's the recruiting season.
Tell us one unique thing you've done since the season ended?
I have a four-month-old baby girl, so any time I can grab with my family. I do clinics in different places, both in Michigan and Ohio, so I take my family. We love water slides. My girls love them. That's life.