Aug. 4, 2000
PHOENIX, AZ - Mike Bottom, California's Associate Head Men's Swimming Coach, has assembled a unique group of sprinters who are training for the upcoming 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with a unique philosphy. Bottom's crew, called Sprint Team 2000 or, as Bottom says, "The World Team," is comprised of 11 of the world's top sprinters who have trained under Bottom's tutelage since May 20 at the Boreyko Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.
Included in Sprint Team 2000 are current Cal swimmers Anthony Ervin, Matt Macedo and Scott Greenwood, who are looking forward to the U.S. Olympic Trials Aug. 9-16 in Indianapolis, IN. Also training with Bottom are former Bear standouts Bart Kizierowski and Gordan Kozulj, who will be competing in the Olympics for their native Poland and Croatia, respectively.
Rounding out Bottom's elite crew includes past USA Olympic gold medalists John Olson and Gary Hall, Jr., Julio Santos and Felipe Delgado from Ecuador, Francisco Sanchez from Venezuela and Marcin Kazmarek from Poland.
"The Cal swimmers in our group all have a good chance of doing well at the Olympic Trials and have been listed in Swimming World as people to watch," said Bottom. "Obviously, the best shot for our swimmers to make the Olympics is finishing in the top six in the 100 free in order to be a part of the 4x100 free relay. Our goal is to get them there (Sydney)."
Indeed, a strong candidate to make the USA Olympic team is Cal's Ervin, who as a freshman captured the NCAA title in the 50 and 100-meter free, set a world record in the 50-meter free and was a member of the Bears NCAA champion 400-meter free relay. He currently has the United States' second fastest time in the 50 free and the fifth-best time in the 100 free.
A good indication of the kind of success Bottom's crew might enjoy in the coming months is how they performed at the prestigious Janet Evans Invitational, July 13-16, at USC. Ervin placed first in the 50 free with a meet record 22.30, while Kizierowski was second and Hall was third. In the 100 free final, Kizierowski placed second, Ervin was third and Macedo was fifth.
What makes Bottom's group so unique is the fact that these athletes are from five different countries but are all training almost exclusively with Bottom in the hot Phoenix sun in preparation for the Olympics in September. Another aspect of Bottom's training that is different than the norm, is the amount of dry land exercise the group involves in its daily workouts. They utilize the Boreyko Sports Complex's adjacent grass track, as well as its weight room, training complex and sports psychologist.
"It's a very Berkeley twist," said Bottom. "The idea is to have three or four guys in the finals in Sydney and have them all rooting for each other. It's swimming out of camaraderie, nothing more. These guys are on the same team in spirit and if you think about the way they've bonded - that is a true international movement.
"Getting this type of sprint training group together has been a goal of mine for about 20 years," continued Bottom, who will be on the pool deck at the Olympics as part of the coaching staffs of Poland, Croatia, Venezuela, Ecuador and possibly the United States. "I've been coaching for about 10 years and before that I was training myself. Now I'm coaching others and this is something I've been working on and priming myself for - the opportunity to train the world's best sprinters."