18 Michigan athletes headed to London for Olympics



By Colleen Thomas
Daily Sports Editor  On  July 6th, 2012

In a mere three weeks, thousands of athletes from around the globe will convene in Great Britain’s capital to compete in the Games of the XXX Olympiad. And 18 of those athletes have ties to the University.

Below is an alphabetical compilation of all the current and former Wolverines who will travel to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Betsey Armstrong: Goalie, USA women’s water polo. Armstrong competed at Michigan from 2002-05, winning letters during each of her four years. She won numerous national accolades and was a finalist for the 2004 Cutino Award. She has competed internationally, winning gold in the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and the 2006 and 2007 FINA Water Polo League championships. Armstrong was a part of the 2008 USA women’s water polo team that brought home the silver medal and won gold in the 2011 Pan American Games.

Nate Brannen: Runner, Canada men’s 1,500m run. Brannen spent four years at Michigan, lettering from 2002-05. As a Wolverine, Brannen won back-to-back NCAA indoor championships in the 800m in 2003 and 2004, and was a part of the world-record-breaking distance medley relay team in 2004 at the NCAA Championships. He also holds the indoor and outdoor program records in the 800m. Professionally, Brannen participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics for Canada, where he ran the 1,500m.

Syque Caesar: Gymnast, Bangladesh all-around competition. Caesar completed his senior season at Michigan in 2012. He was a part of the 2010 NCAA Championship team in addition to winning the 2011 Big Ten title in the parallel bars. In addition to his collegiate career, Caesar made history by winning the first gold medal in Bangladesh international competition history, with a win in the parallel bars at the South Central Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship in 2011.

Tyler Clary: Swimmer, USA men’s 200m fly, 200m backstroke. Clary finished three years at Michigan — from 2008-10 — before going professional, earning three varsity letters. In 2010, Clary was the NCAA Champion in the 400-yard individual medley, and in 2009, he won the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke. His 2009 performance earned him NCAA Swimmer of the Year accolades. Clary has also won 10 medals in international competition.

Geena Gall: Runner, USA women’s 800m run. Gall competed at Michigan from 2006-09 and was a four-time letterwinner. She won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in the 800m run in 2003 and 2004, and was a 10-time All-American as a Wolverine. Gall was also a part of the “Fab Four” relay teams that broke collegiate records in the 4x800m and the 4x1500m relays at the Penn Relays in 2007. She barely missed qualifying for the 2008 Olympics — she was a junior at Michigan at the time — but has continued her professional career running for Nike.

Janine Hanson: Rower, Canada women’s eight. Hanson competed at Michigan from 2003-06, winning varsity letters in each year. Hanson has been a part of the Canadian National team for six years, and competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, where she finished 8th. In addition, Hanson has won two silver medals in the World Championships in 2010 and 2011.

Charlie Houchin: Swimmer, USA men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Houchin swam at Michigan from 2006-10, earning four varsity letters in his career. Houchin finished his career as a two-time All-American in the 800-yard freestyle relay and a 2009 Big Ten champion in the 400-yard freestyle relay. He also won two gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games, and has been a member of the U.S. national team since his graduation.

Connor Jaeger: Swimmer, USA men’s 1,500m freestyle. Jaeger finished his sophomore campaign at Michigan, where he has racked up many Big Ten accolades. He is a two-time letterwinner, and placed third in the mile at the NCAA Championships in 2012. Jaeger is the only current Wolverine swimmer on the U.S. squad heading to London.

Sam Mikulak: Gymnast, USA all-around competition. Mikulak completed his sophomore year at Michigan in 2012, and has already added many accolades to his name as a Wolverine. As a freshman, Mikulak was named 2011 Big Ten Gymnast and Athlete of the Year, as well as winning the 2011 NCAA All-Around championship. Mikulak was named to the five-man USA men’s gymnastics roster headed to London, which made him the first Wolverine gymnast to represent the USA in a Summer Olympics.

Tom Peszek: Rower, USA men’s pair. Peszek competed at Michigan from 2003-07, where he rowed with the club team. He’s competed in many international competitions, where his best finish was sixth in the men’s eight at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. Peszek has also had numerous top-three finishes in national competitions, and won the 2012 Olympic Trials in the men’s pair.

Krista Phillips: Center, Canada women’s basketball. Phillips played at Michigan from 2006-10, earning four varsity letters and two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades. She was a part of Canada’s Junior National team before her stint in Ann Arbor, and has played professionally overseas.

Jeff Porter: Runner, USA men’s 110m hurdles. Porter competed at Michigan from 2006-09, lettering in each of his four years. He was the 2007 NCAA champion in the 60m hurdles as a Wolverine, and met his future wife, Wolverine track star Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, during his time in Ann Arbor. Porter will compete in his first Olympics this summer.

Tiffany (Ofili) Porter: Runner, Great Britain women’s 100m hurdles. Porter was a five-time national champion at Michigan from 2006-09, winning three consecutive 100m hurdles titles at the NCAA Outdoor championships as well as two consecutive 60m hurdles titles at the NCAA Indoor meet. She also holds the Michigan program record in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles and the 100m hurdles. Porter met her future husband, Jeff Porter, while running at Michigan, and she earned her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2012. Porter went to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, but failed to qualify, and because of her dual citizenship, she was eligible to compete for a spot on Great Britain’s national team for the 2012 Olympics. Porter has also won numerous medals in international competition.

Nicole (Edwards) Sifuentes: Runner, Canada women’s 1,500m run. Sifuentes competed at Michigan from 2005-08, earning four varsity letters. She was a 10-time All-American as a Wolverine and was a part of the collegiate record-setting “Fab Four” that won 4x800m and 4x1500m Penn Relays in 2007. Sifuentes has competed and won medals in international competition, and is currently sponsored by Saucony.

Davis Tarwater: Swimmer, USA men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Tarwater competed at Michigan from 2003-06 where he was a four-time varsity letterwinner and a three-time NCAA Champion in the 200-yard butterfly and the 4x200m freestyle relay team. Tarwater narrowly missed qualifying for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, but made the 2012 squad when Michael Phelps withdrew from the 4x200m freestyle relay team.

Sarah Trowbridge: Rower, USA double sculls. Trowbridge rowed at Michigan from 2003-05, lettering three times. She’s been a part of the U.S. National team for five years after her time in Ann Arbor, and has won numerous medals in international competition.

Peter Vanderkaay: Swimmer, USA men’s 400m freestyle. Vanderkaay was a four-time varsity letterwinner and a five-time NCAA Champion during his career at Michigan from 2003-06. He competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimming the 4x200m freestyle relay team that won gold. Overall, Vanderkaay has won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze in addition to multiple World Championships.

Nick Willis: Runner, New Zealand men’s 1,500m run. Willis spent three years at Michigan, earning three varsity letters, and plans on returning in the fall to complete his degree. He won the 2005 NCAA indoor title in the mile run as a Wolverine and was also a part of the world-record-breaking distance medley relay team in 2004. Willis competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he won the bronze medal in the 1,500m run. He has also won numerous medals in international and national competitions, where he established the New Zealand national record in the 1,500m run.


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