Peter Vanderkaay

Peter on winning

“Be patient and work hard. Success doesn’t always come overnight.”

“Always stay confident before your big meets,” Sage advice from one of the world’s best freestylers, Peter Vanderkaay.

Peter’s had a lot of practice handling the lead-up to national and world competitions. He says eventually there’s little left he can do physically to change the fate of his races besides sleep, eat well and stay hydrated. That’s when the all-important mental game kicks into high gear.

“To keep a positive mindset, I remind myself that I have done all the required training to swim fast; the hard stuff is behind me,” Peter says.

Looking back at training camp, months of continued hard training and countless racing opportunities, he can confidently say that he’s well prepared to meet his goals head on.

“If I show up at a meet without confidence, then I’ve already set myself up for a poor performance. Now I just have to go out there and race, have fun and let my preparation do the rest.”

Read more about Peter in SPLASH magazine, courtesy of USA Swimming - September/October 2010 | July/August 2011

Read how Peter's preparing for his fourth World Championships appearance.

Watch Peters’s aha moments:


  • Birthday: February 12, 1984
  • Hometown: Rochester, Michigan

Sweet Achievement:

“Being a three-time Olympian and four-time Olympic medalist”

Winning Record

  • Olympics
    2012 – Bronze, 400m freestyle 3:44.69
    2008 – Bronze, 200m freestyle; Gold, 800m freestyle relay (WR)
    2004 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay
  • World Championships
    2011 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay
    2010 – Silver, 800m freestyle relay (scm) (AR)
    2009 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay
    2007 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay (WR)
    2005 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay
  • Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships
    2010 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay; Bronze, 200m freestyle
    2006 – Gold, 800m freestyle relay
  • Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool
    2009 – Gold, 200m freestyle (AR); Gold, 400m freestyle
    2007 – Gold, 200m freestyle; Silver, 400m freestyle
    2005 – Gold, 200m freestyle; Silver, 400m freestyle
  • U.S. Nationals
    2011 – Gold, 200m freestyle

Race Clips