ANN ARBOR, Michigan, June 16. THE University of Michigan Athletic Department announced earlier this week that senior NCAA champion swimmer Peter Vanderkaay (Rochester, Mich./Adams HS) as its 2006 Male Athlete of the Year. Vanderkaay will now be among 22 nominees for the Big Ten Conference Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year.
The 500-yard freestyle NCAA national champion in 2006, Vanderkaay capped off his collegiate career with four All-America honors and four Big Ten Conference titles. At the NCAA Championships, he finished no lower than second in his three individual events, winning the 500 free and finishing runner-up in the 200 and 1,650 freestyle. He also led off the second-place 800-yard freestyle relay and was part of two additional All-America honorable mention relay teams.
Vanderkaay broke an 11-year-old NCAA, American and U.S. Open record in the 500 free at the national championship, a mark held by U-M's Tom Dolan since 1995. A team tri-captain, Vanderkaay earned his third straight Big Ten Swimmer of the Year award in 2006 after winning all three of his individual events at the championship meet, in addition to the 800 free relay. He was twice named the national and Big Ten Swimmer of the Week in 2006.
A 16-time All-American, Vanderkaay has won five NCAA titles and 14 Big Ten titles in his career and was the 2003 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He is the third-fastest American man ever in the 400-meter freestyle and fifth-fastest in the 200-meter freestyle. He won gold medals in the 800-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympic Games and 2005 World Championships.