Bob Bowman (coach)

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Bob Bowman
Bowman & Phelps - Indy 2009.jpg
Bowman with Michael Phelps
Sport(s) Swimming
Current position
Title Swimming Coach
Team Arizona State University, North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Michael Phelps, University of Michigan

Bob Bowman is an American swimming coach, who is best known as the coach of record-breaking American swimmer Michael Phelps. From 2005-2008, he was the head coach for the University of Michigan men's swimming & diving team, replacing Jon Urbanchek; as well as the head coach for the club team based at the school: Club Wolverine. He was the eighth men's head coach in the history of the University of Michigan Swimming program. As of September 2008, he is the CEO/Head Coach for North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

In April 2008, Bowman and the University announced that he would conclude his coaching tenure at Michigan at the end of the 2008 USA Olympic Swim Trials (July 2008) and return to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club after the Beijing Olympics.[1][2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Bowman was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where he attended Columbia High School.

Bowman has a younger sister, Donna Bowman, who works at Chapin High School as a Career and Technology Education Teacher.

Coaching career[edit]

In 1986-87, Bowman was a coach at the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club and also served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Florida State University.[4] Bowman swam for the Seminoles from 1983–85,[4] serving as a team captain in his final year. Bowman graduated from Florida State with a bachelor of science degree in developmental psychology and a minor in music composition in 1987. While at Florida State, Bowman was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

Bowman held assistant coaching positions with the Napa Valley Swim Team (1991–92), the Cincinnati Pepsi Marlins (1990–91) and the Las Vegas Gold swim team (1988–90).

Bowman was also the head coach and program director for the Birmingham Swim League from 1992-94. While with the Birmingham Swim League, he was responsible for program design, staff development and daily operation of a 250-member club. Under his supervision, BSL improved to a top five program regionally after finishing out of the top 20 the previous 10 years.

From 1994-97, Bowman served as head coach for the Napa Valley Swim Team.[4]

Prior to becoming the Men's head coach at Michigan, Bowman coached for nine years (1996–2004) at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC), in Baltimore, Maryland. From 1996-1999 he held the position of senior coach; and from 1999-2004 he was NBAC's High Performance Coach.[4] During his tenure in Baltimore, Bowman helped to produce 3 individual national champions, 10 national finalists and 5 USA National Team members. In recognition of his accomplishments, Bowman was named the USA's Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2003. He was also named Developmental Coach of the Year in 2002.

It was also during his work at NBAC that Bowman began coaching 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Under Bowman's tutelage at the North Baltimore Aquatic club, Phelps won five World Championship gold medals and was named the American Swimmer of the Year in 2001 and 2003.

While at Michigan, Bowman worked closely with Greg Harden, then the sport administrator for swimming. Harden spoke often with both Bowman and Phelps during their time in Ann Arbor leading up to the 2008 Olympics, and he often helped one communicate better with the other. Bowman gives Harden some of the credit for all the success Team USA had in the pool in Beijing. Bowman even says Harden was one of the major reasons he came to Michigan in the first place. Bowman on Harden: “He’s a miracle worker. He made me a better coach, and a better person.”[5]

Bowman was named as an assistant coach on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, serving as the primary coach for Phelps. At the 2004 Games, Bowman helped coach Phelps to eight medals, including six gold medals and two bronze. Four years later, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he coached Phelps to achieve eight Olympic gold medals, which had never been done before in a single Olympics.

Bowman was added to the coaching roster to the 2012 London Olympics serving as an assistant coach for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.[6]

Bowman was hired as the new swim coach at Arizona State University in 2015.[7][8]


  1. ^ Bowman Returning to North Baltimore Aquatic Club as CEO.[dead link] (University of Michigan Athletics website); published 2008-04-17; retrieved 2009-06-15.
  2. ^ Bowman Leaving Michigan to Return to NBAC., published 2008-04-17; retrieved 2009-06-15.
  3. ^ The Morning Swim Show: Twelve Women Under Backstroke Barrier; Bob Bowman Talks About Returning to Baltimore; YMCA Nationals. Swimming World Magazine online; published 2008-04-18, retrieved 2009-06-15.
  4. ^ a b c d Bowman's bio[dead link] from; published 2008; retrieved 2009-06-15.
  5. ^ "Tom Brady's Guru", by Eric Adelson, January 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Bob Bowman added to U.S. Staff from published September 1, 2011
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]

External links[edit]