Bob Bowman (coach)

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Bob Bowman
Bowman & Phelps - Indy 2009.jpg
Bowman with Michael Phelps in 2009
Current position
TitleSwimming coach
TeamArizona State
ConferencePac-12 Conference
Biographical details
Born (1965-04-06) April 6, 1965 (age 57)
Columbia, South Carolina
Alma materFlorida State University
Playing career
1983–1985Florida State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1996-2005North Baltimore AC
2008–2015North Baltimore AC
2015–presentArizona State
Accomplishments and honors
  • World Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame
  • 2016 USA Olympic Swimming Head Coach

Robert Bowman (April 6, 1965) is an American swimming coach who is the current head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils swimming and diving teams of Arizona State University. Bowman is best known as the coach of 23-time Olympic gold medalist American swimmer Michael Phelps. From 2005 to 2008, Bowman served as the head coach for the Michigan Wolverines swimming and diving team of the University of Michigan men's swimming & diving team. From 2008 to 2015, he worked as the CEO and head coach for North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

In 2015, USA Swimming appointed him the head coach of the men's U.S. 2016 Olympic Team.

Personal life[edit]

Bowman was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where he attended Columbia High School. He has a younger sister, Donna Bowman, who works at Chapin Middle School as a computer science professor.

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.[1] Bowman swam for the Seminoles from 1983 to 1985,[1] 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 to 1994. 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 to 1997, Bowman served as head coach for the Napa Valley Swim Team.[1]

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 to 1999 he held the position of senior coach; and from 1999 to 2004 he was NBAC's High Performance Coach.[1] During his tenure in Baltimore, Bowman helped to produce three individual national champions, ten national finalists and five U.S. 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 23-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 from 2001 to 2004.

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.”[2]

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.

In April 2008, Bowman announced that he would leave 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.[3][4][5]

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]

On September 9, 2015, USA Swimming announced that Bowman would serve as the head coach of the men's team for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.[9]

According to a July 19 report from the Orange County Register, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Caroline Burckle received "a series of sexually graphic text messages and a voice mail on her cell phone" on the night of May 16, 2011. The text messages came from Bowman and Sean Hutchison, two U.S. national team coaches.[1]


  • The Golden Rules: 10 Steps to World-Class Excellence in Your Life and Work. Bob Bowman, with Charles Butler (2016), St. Martin's Press.


  1. ^ a b c d Bowman's bio Archived May 4, 2007, at from; published 2008; retrieved June 15, 2009.
  2. ^ "Tom Brady's Guru", by Eric Adelson, January 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Bowman Returning to North Baltimore Aquatic Club as CEO. (University of Michigan Athletics website); published April 17, 2008; retrieved 2009-06-15.
  4. ^ Bowman Leaving Michigan to Return to NBAC., published April 17, 2008; retrieved 2009-06-15.
  5. ^ The Morning Swim Show: Twelve Women Under Backstroke Barrier; Bob Bowman Talks About Returning to Baltimore; YMCA Nationals Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Swimming World Magazine; published 2008-04-18, retrieved June 15, 2009.
  6. ^ Bob Bowman added to U.S. Staff from published September 1, 2011
  7. ^ Bob Bowman hired as new ASU swim coach. The State Press (April 2015). Retrieved on October 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman Heading to Arizona State. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.
  9. ^ "David Marsh, Bob Bowman Named Head Coaches Of 2016 US Olympic Team". Retrieved September 9, 2015.

External links[edit]