Competitor Coach of the Month: Mike Bottom, Michigan

Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

It was a solid month of competition for the Michigan Wolverines.

Coming off a month of July that saw freshman sensation Maggie MacNeil win Worlds gold in the 100 fly, the Wolverines kept things moving with a huge Charlie Swanson gold at Pan American Games.

Heading into this summer, Swanson’s career-best in the 400 IM was 4:14.01, and that in itself was a two-second drop. Swanson ranked 6th nationally that season. But at Pan Ams, he blasted a 4:11.046 that moves him to #2 in the nation, and won Pan Ams gold by a whopping 8 seconds.

Swanson wasn’t the only Michigan swimmer to shine in August. At U.S. Nationals, Miles Smachlo improved his butterflys from 53.08 and 1:57.64 to 51.93 and 1:55.94. He was the national silver medalist in the 200 fly and ranks #3 among Americans this season.

Meanwhile Miranda Tucker improved her lifetime-best in the 100 breast to 1:07.33, taking U.S. Nationals bronze. Sierra Schmidt took home an 800 free silver and 400 free/1500 free bronze at U.S. Nationals. A Michigan collegiate swimmer, Mexico’s Ricardo Vargas won two bronzes at Pan Ams.


About Competitor Swim

Since 1960, Competitor Swim® has been the leader in the production of racing lanes and other swim products for competitions around the world. Competitor lane lines have been used in countless NCAA Championships, as well as 10 of the past 13 Olympic Games. Molded and assembled using U.S. – made components, Competitor lane lines are durable, easy to set up and are sold through distributors and dealers worldwide.

Competitor Swim is a SwimSwam partner. 

In This Story

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
25 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
26 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Now if he only coached these athletes!


He is almost as good as the Tennessee Coach


Doesn’t he coach Smachlo and Tucker and MacNeil?


Bottom coaches the sprinters. Women’s coach, coaches Tucker and MacNeil. Men’s coach, coaches Smachlo


Rick Bishop coaches the women and Josh White coaches the men


I believe that Superfan is referring to how Mike Bottom allegedly doesn’t do a lot of actual day to day coaching




Swimming is changing. These large, Power 5 combined programs are huge operations, with 60+ athletes, half a dozen full-time coaches, GA, volunteers and a variety of support personal.

Some head coaches are shifting into a more CEO type role, which honestly, make a ton of sense. There is a lot to oversee. Hire good coaches and let them coach. If the head coach doesn’t pin themselves to one group, they are able to float, make the rounds, and avoid the “head coach doesn’t care about/talk to me criticism.”

In the end, a head coach is hired to oversee a successful program, not to make sure they are writing enough practices to satisfy the swimswam trolls.


Well said


^ He gets it

Ol' Longhorn

True, but again, the skillset and current aptitude of a CEO is completely different than those of the coaches on the deck. Let’s face it, a surgeon who sits in meetings, recruits, etc. for a decade as CEO of a hospital wouldn’t be your go-to doc for an operation. You probably wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a general either. The point is, there is room for both, but the glory should be distributed to include those that are actually milking the talent out of these young athletes.


What other programs have this same model? Just curious.


Like COACH said, several of the bigger teams are run like this.

Just Cause

I can tell you for sure that you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s OK to guess but if you’re not there at the hours long weekly staff meetings or watching how he analyzes every workout before its put out for the athletes than you shouldn’t be making these statements.

Honest Observer

I realize “of the month” refers to August, but another Michigan swimmer who had a fantastic summer was Siobhan Haughey, who had best times in the 50-100-200 frees, missing out on the bronze in the 200 in Gwangju by only .2.


If looking outside August what about Gabby Deloof who was athlete of the meet at WUGs


Well, in the 200 free, the top 3 contenders elected not to swim due to illnesses and relay obligations

Rachel Wander

She still had an amazing best time. Breaking 1:55 is a big deal.


Schmidt also bronzed in the 1500.


Neither of which train with Coach Botttom

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »