Elite Swimmers Train with Cal Coach Mike Bottom

June 29, 2004

By Jeff FaraudoThe Oakland Tribune

'IT'S ANOTHER Tuesday evening in the Oakland hills home of Mike Bottom, just like any other during the spring and summer months, but so different than perhaps anything the swimming world knows.

American star Gary Hall Jr., the four-time Olympic gold medalist, lies flat on the massage table, blissful as the knots in his shoulders are unkinked by skilled hands.

Bart Kizierowski, a Cal grad from Poland, and Gabrielle Rose, a Stanford grad with dual U.S. and Brazilian citizenship -- a seemingly unlikely pair, engaged to be married -- share the dining room table with friends.

Algerian-born Salim Iles, who came to the Bay Area this spring after 10 years training in France, dodges the smoke of the grill on the patio as he

handles barbecue chores.

A half-dozen more swimmers -- from places like Croatia, Malaysia, Serbia and the Philippines -- are plopped on the living room sofa and floor, watching the NBA playoffs on TV.

Bottom, 48, the co-head coach at Cal and member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic swim team that stayed home from Moscow half a lifetime ago because of the boycott, wanders from room to room, touching base with everyone.'

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