Bob Bowman Set For Induction Into International Swimming Hall of Fame


Bob Bowman Set For Induction Into International Swimming Hall of Fame

Next weekend, the International Swimming Hall of Fame will induct a spectacular class, one that will include coach Bob Bowman. Here is a look at the career of Bowman.

Click here for Induction Ceremony information.

Without Michelangelo, there would be no statue of David. Without Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa would not hang in the Louvre. And without Bob Bowman, the legend of Michael Phelps – whose career is defined as swimming’s masterpiece – might not have come to fruition.

As a coach at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in the 1990s, Bowman had already served coaching stints with the Napa Valley Swim Team, Cincinnati Marlins and Las Vegas Gold Swim Team. It was at NBAC where his career skyrocketed, his ability to mold the talent of Phelps opening doors to global recognition.

Although Phelps was not yet a teenager, Bowman saw immense talent in his pupil, to the point where he held a discussion with Phelps’ parents to emphasize Olympic potential. Indeed, Bowman was prophetic, as Phelps qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games as a 15-year-old. In Sydney, Phelps claimed a fifth-place finish in the 200-meter butterfly, and he and Bowman were off and running.

Within a year, Bowman had led Phelps to the first world record of his career and a world championship, both in the 200 butterfly. More, Bowman had Phelps branch out to additional events, a move that would go a long way toward Phelps earning his status as the Greatest of All-Time.

With Bowman guiding his career, Phelps shredded all sorts of records in the sport and Olympic realm. Phelps’ 28 Olympic medals – earned over five Olympiads – are highlighted by 23 of the gold variety and his iconic eight titles at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Bowman also mentored Phelps to 33 medals at the World Championships and 39 world records.


Bob Bowman with Michael Phelps at Rio 2016 – Photo Courtesy: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s a father figure to me,” Phelps once said of Bowman. “He knew how to get the most out of me in the water, but he’s helped me through some of the worst times in my life. He’s been there every step of the way, and I’m forever thankful. I’ve said this all along. I don’t think I could have accomplished what I did with any other coach.”

A multi-time selection as USA Swimming Coach of the Year, Bowman has been a coach for five United States Olympic teams, handling head-coaching duties at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. He has also served as a Team USA staff member at multiple World Championships, including the head-coaching role at this past summer’s edition in Fukuoka, Japan.

A former captain at Florida State University, Bowman oversaw the University of Michigan program from 2004-2008, a stint which included a quartet of top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships and a Big Ten Conference crown. Bowman returned to NBAC in 2008 and stayed in Baltimore until 2015, when he accepted the challenge of leading the men’s and women’s programs at Arizona State University.

At Arizona State, Bowman has revitalized a program that was once tapped for elimination and was a Pac-12 Conference doormat upon his arrival. Through constant building and belief, Bowman led the Sun Devils to a third-place finish at the 2022 NCAA Men’s Championships and a runnerup showing at the 2023 NCAA Champs. His most recent season also included a conference championship, the first in program history.

Bowman has coached a bevy of Olympians, including Allison Schmitt, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 200 freestyle, and Chase Kalisz, who earned gold in the 400 individual medley at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Other Olympians and world-class athletes trained by Bowman include Peter Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater, Erik Vendt, Kaitlin Sandeno, Klete Keller, Scott Spann and Katie Hoff, among others.

Most recently, Bowman has worked with French superstar Leon Marchand, who has become a world champion and NCAA titlist under Bowman’s tutelage. At the 2023 World Championships, Marchand won three individual gold medals and broke Phelps’ longstanding world record in the 400 IM. More, Bowman’s work with Hubert Kos helped the Hungarian to the world title in the 200 backstroke.

As much as Bowman has achieved in the sport to date, his ongoing search for greatness from his athletes will necessitate continuous updates to his Hall of Fame ledger.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frank A Wilson
Frank A Wilson
9 months ago

Bob Bowman has certainly earned this award!

9 months ago

Without Phelps, this guy is a hall of famer

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x