, of Rochester Hills, made a splash at an advance screening of the upcoming movie Won’t Back Down at the on Monday.
Won’t Back Down is the story of determined mothers, portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. It opens in theaters nationwide on Sept. 28.
In keeping with the theme of the movie, Vanderkaay, 28, was recognized as someone who had resolve to fulfill his dreams. In July, the four-time Olympic medalist (two gold, two bronze) swam a 3:44:69 in the 400-meter freestyle swim to win a bronze medal in the Summer Olympics Games in London.
“My parents certainly made a lot of sacrifices for me,” Vanderkaay said of his parents, Royal Oak dentist and Robin Vanderkaay –both graduates of Kimball High School in Royal Oak.
“Peter learned to swim in the pool in Royal Oak. He was tenacious growing up,” Robin said. “He never gave up. He was a decent swimmer when he was young, but in his junior year of high school all his hard work began to pay off.”
In addition to being a two-time U.S. Olympic team member, Vanderkaay’s achievements include being a five-time NCAA Champion, three-time World Champion and the 2006 Big Ten Athlete of the year. Vanderkaay attended the University of Michigan.
“I’ve been doing a lot of travelling lately – doing contractual stuff,” Vanderkaay said. “I’m running around and trying to stay in shape.”
After spending 18 months training in Gainsville, FL, Vanderkaay is "taking a break" and moving home to Michigan.
“We are so glad to have him back,” Robin said.