Joe Bottom (USA)
Honor Swimmer (2006)
FOR THE RECORD: 1976 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver (100m butterfly); TWO WORLD RECORDS: 100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle relay; 1973 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m medley relay, 4x100m freestyle relay), silver (100m butterfly); 1978 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay); NINE U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: short course (100y freestyle, 100y butterfly, 4x100y medley relay, 4x100y freestyle relay), long course (50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay); NINE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 50y freestyle, 100y freestyle, 100y butterfly, 4x100y freestyle relay, 4x100y medley relay.
Since his win at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, Mark Spitz’s 100m Butterfly World Record had stood for 10 years when Joe Bottom broke the record of 54.27 setting a new time of 54.18. In the process, he had to beat East Germany’s Roger Pyttel at the DDR-USA Duel meet, also in Germany, this time in Berlin. Bottom had been the silver medalist in the event a year earlier at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
Coached by George Haines at Santa Clara and Peter Daland at USC, Joe stood at 6′ 41/2″ with an easy-going demeanor on land, but as a fierce competitor in the water. He won the 1978 Berlin World Championships 100m Butterfly after taking the silver in the same event at the inaugural 1973 World Championship. Because of the U.S. Olympic Boycott of 1980, he was unable to compete in his prime-time Olympic year.
At USC, he currently holds the sprint 50 yard freestyle school record at 19.70, almost 30 years after he set it in 1977. He has five NCAA individual titles to his name and has the third fastest 100y freestyle and sixth fastest 100y butterfly times in school history. He won nine U.S. National Championships between 1974 and 1980.