Joe Bottom

Joseph Stuart Bottom (born April 18, 1955) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic silver medalist, and former world record-holder in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and 4×100-meter freestyle relay.[1]

Joe Bottom
Personal information
Full nameJoseph Stuart Bottom
National teamUnited States
Born (1955-04-18) April 18, 1955
Akron, Ohio
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight192 lb (87 kg)
StrokesButterfly, freestyle
ClubSanta Clara Swim Club
College teamUniversity of Southern California

Born in Akron, Ohio, Bottom moved with his family at age 11 to Santa Clara, California, where he was a member of the Santa Clara Swim Club under noted swim coach George Haines.[2] He attended Santa Clara High School, where he contributed to the Panthers numerous California Interscholastic Federation – Central Coast Section championships and set several Section records from 1971–73.[3]

Bottom attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he was an All-American swimmer for the USC Trojans swimming and diving team from 1974 to 1977. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and was a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi.[4][5] In 1977, he was the first swimmer ever to crack 20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle, at 19.70.[6] He held USC's record for 50-yard freestyle until the 2006–2007 season, and has the third fastest 100-yard freestyle and sixth-fastest 100-yard butterfly times in school history. He won five NCAA individual and 4 relay titles with the Trojans. He was the captain of the 1977 Trojans swim team.[7][8] Known for an easygoing personality, Bottom was a fierce competitor during meets.[6]

At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Bottom won the silver medal in the 100-meter butterfly and came in sixth in the 100-meter freestyle. He also won a gold medal as a member of the 4×100-meter medley relay team, swimming in the qualifying round.[9][10] At the prime of his career, he was unable to compete at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow due to the U.S. boycott.[7][8]

During the inaugural, 1973 World Aquatics Championships in Belgrade, Bottom took silver in the 100-meter butterfly and gold in both the 4×100-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter medley relay events. At the 1978 World Championships in Berlin he took gold in the 100-meter butterfly as well as the 4×100-meter medley relay. He won nine U.S. national championships between 1974 and 1980.[7]

On August 27, 1977, at the East Germany-United States dual meet in East Berlin, Bottom broke Mark Spitz's five-year-old 100-meter butterfly world record with a time of 54.18 seconds. The night before the record-setting race, Bottom suffered from insomnia and took a sleeping pill only to oversleep and miss his usual pre-race warmup swim; incredibly, he broke Spitz's record anyway.[6] He was also a part of the team that set the new 4×100-meter freestyle relay world record on September 1, 1974.[7]

In 2007, Bottom was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame; several of his records set at USC remain unbroken.[8] He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2006.[7]

Bottom currently resides in Chico, California, where he is a management consultant and serving as Senior Manager in Accenture's Marketing Sciences Practice within the Retail Products Industry.[5][11] His younger brother, Mike Bottom, also swam at USC where he was a three-time All-American (1975–77); Mike is currently one of the world's top sprint coaches and coaches the University of Michigan swim team.[4][12][13][14]

See also


  1., Olympic Sports, Athletes, Joe Bottom Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  2. Santa Clara High School Reunion Event to Include Multiple Classes, Business Wire, March 19, 2008, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  3. Historical Record of CCS Boys Swimming and Diving Championship Results Archived September 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, CIF – Central Coast Section, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  4. USC Mens Swimming & Diving All-Americans Archived November 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, USC Trojans Athletic Department, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  5. Joseph Bottom, LinkedIn, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  6. Jerry Kirshenbaum, Bottom Was Up To Topping A Mark, Sports Illustrated, September 5, 1977, Accessed March 23, 2018.
  7. International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Joe Bottom (USA). Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  8. 2007 Inductees For USC Athletic Hall of Fame Announced, USC Trojans Athletic Department, October 13, 2006, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Accenture Marketing Sciences: Retail & Sales Optimization — Leadership, Accenture, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  12. Duncan Scott, "Fred Bousquet, the Barrier Basher: Can You Say, 'Déjà vu, All Over Again?' Archived December 3, 2005, at the Wayback Machine," Swimming World Magazine, March 24, 2005, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  13. Player Bio: Mike Bottom :: Men's Swimming Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Cal Bears Athletic Department, Accessed August 13, 2008.

Preceded by
Jonty Skinner
Men's 50-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

July 3, 1977 – July 29, 1978
Succeeded by
Ron Manganiello
Preceded by
Mark Spitz
Men's 100-meter butterfly
world record-holder (long course)

August 27, 1977 – April 11, 1980
Succeeded by
Pär Arvidsson
Preceded by
Bruce Stahl
Men's 50-meter freestyle
world record-holder (long course)

August 15, 1980 – August 15, 1981
Succeeded by
Robin Leamy

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