Joe Bottom

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Joe Bottom
Personal information
Full name Joseph Stuart Bottom
Nickname(s) "Joe"
National team United States
Born (1955-04-18) April 18, 1955 (age 62)
Akron, Ohio
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight 192 lb (87 kg)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Butterfly, freestyle
Club Santa Clara Swim Club
College team University of Southern California

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]

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][7]

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.[4][12][13]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b USC Mens Swimming & Diving All-Americans, USC Trojans Athletic Department, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Joseph Bottom, LinkedIn, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Jerry Kirshenbaum, Bottom Was Up To Topping A Mark, Sports Illustrated, September 5, 1977, Accessed August 13, 2008. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "SI090577" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b c d e f International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Joe Bottom (USA). Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c 2007 Inductees For USC Athletic Hall of Fame Announced, USC Trojans Athletic Department, October 13, 2006, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  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?'," Swimming World Magazine, March 24, 2005, Accessed August 13, 2008.
  13. ^ Player Bio: Mike Bottom :: Men's Swimming, Cal Bears Athletic Department, Accessed August 13, 2008.

External links[edit]

  • Joe Bottom – Olympic athlete profile at
  • Joe Bottom (USA) – Honor Swimmer profile at International Swimming Hall of Fame

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