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Bob Bowman (coach) facts for kids

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Bob Bowman
Bowman & Phelps - Indy 2009.jpg
Bowman with Michael Phelps in 2009
Current position
Title Swimming coach
Team Arizona State
Conference Pac-12 Conference
Biographical details
Born (1965-04-06) April 6, 1965 (age 59)
Columbia, South Carolina
Alma mater Florida State University
Playing career
1983–1985 Florida State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1992-1994 Birmingham Swim League
Napa Valley Swim Team
1996-2005 North Baltimore AC
2005–2008 U of Michigan
2008–2015 North Baltimore AC
2015–present Arizona State
2004-2016 U.S. Olympic Team Coach
Head coaching record
Overall 30-8-1
Winning Pct. .782
U of Michigan
Accomplishments and honors
'23 PAC-12 Conference
NCAA 2nd Place
US Swimming's Coach of the Year, 2001, 2003
World Swim. & Diving Hall of Fame

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 of the men's Michigan Wolverines swimming and diving team of the University of Michigan. In one of his longest serving coaching stints, from 2008 to 2015, he worked as the CEO and head coach of North Baltimore Aquatic Club, and had formerly coached at the Club between 1996 and 2005.

He served as a U.S. Olympic coach in 2004, 2008, and 2012, and in 2015, USA Swimming appointed him the head coach of the men's 2016 Olympic Team.

Personal life

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.

College swimming

Bowman swam for the Florida State Seminoles from 1983 to 1985, 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.

Early Coaching career

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.

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).

Birmingham Swim League, Napa Valley Swim coach

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.

North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach

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. 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.

University of Michigan Head Coach

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 helped to improve communication between coach and swimmer. Bowman gives Harden some of the credit for all the success Team USA had in the pool in Beijing, and credited Harden with his important decision to make the move to coach at Michigan. Bestowing the highest praise, Bowman has said of Harden, that "He’s a miracle worker. He made me a better coach, and a better person.” 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.

Olympic coaching, 2004-2016

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.

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.

Arizona State University Head Coach

Bowman was hired as the new swim coach at Arizona State University in 2015.

In March 2023, Bowman led the ASU Men's swimming and diving team to its first PAC-12 Conference Championship in program history. Later that month, Bowman would lead the ASU Men's swimming and diving team to second place at NCAA division I championships.


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