Bowman Hones The Home Of Phelps & Kalisz

Bob Bowman and Baltimore's home-grown talents: Michael Phelps and Chase Kalisz

In a chat with on the cusp of a question and answer session with coaches at the American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic in New Orleans, Bob Bowman explained why he and his team in Baltimore are in the process of rebuilding the age program that gave rise to Michael Phelps and how and why the North Baltimore Aquatic Club is a success

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Rob F

Great article, Craig, thanks. I’ll be re-reading it a couple of times and passing it on to others that I think might appreciate it.

A couple of comments and a question:
Distance – I agree that an aerobic base is vital for swimming, but there’s many a prospective swimmer that has been lost to the sport because of the drudgery of a distance-oriented program. It’s a fine line between enough and too much.
I realy like the idea of linking attendance to meet participation – a much better motivational approach than the more common “do it or you’re out” method.

On the “coaches interaction” answer, we’ve all seen declarations from the boss along similar lines, when the reality is more like Reggie Perrin’s CJ. You’ve met Bob many times in the past, how does he come across on this point?

Craig Lord

Thanks for your note Rob.

🙂 Reggie Perrin’s CJ… now that takes me back to some fond memories. I’d say this: I like Bob Bowman: he’s very bright, deep thinking, fascinating to talk to … I would also imagine that anyone who works with him would recognise very quickly that challenge would be part of daily life – and that’s neither always easy nor comfortable, though it can be thrilling and greatly rewarding. I think he’s open to being challenged and open to absorbing things if he sees they have value and can work. If a coach has rein to try something out, I would imagine they would then have to show that it works/is working. I would imagine that there are some things Bob Bowman would be hard to sway on: like stuff he’s tried and knows that it works. On that score, its not hard to see that he would stick to his guns where he thinks that that is required.

I once had a boss in journalism who, at a meeting with some marketing folk who were being more pushy and a pain in the rear than usual and talked about the need for consensus, said: ‘Look, what you have to understand is that sometimes we don’t need consensus: I’m the editor and this is a dictatorship: what I say goes.’ She then sent them packing to think again. And she was right – and we (the journalists present) felt like putting in more effort as a result. I can imagine its a little like that (in a different context) with Bob Bowman.

One last point: while CJ was a nightmare when it came to him being a prospective dinner guest, I think Bob Bowman would be a great guest to have round any table.

Hope that answers the Reggie P question (and I thank you for it). best, C

Clive Rushton

I didn’t get where I am today by not commenting on posts like that! Very illuminating and informative description of BB, Craig.

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