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Michael Phelps’ Coach Bob Bowman Assembles Swimming Dream Team, Gold Medal Minute Video

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Yannick Agnel, French Olympic Swim Star, NBAC Athlete  (Photo Credit: Victor Puig, victorpuig.com)

Yannick Agnel, French Olympic Swim Star, NBAC Athlete (Photo Credit: Victor Puig, victorpuig.com)

Bob Bowman’s North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC) may be the greatest swim club ever assembled. NBAC elite swimmers include; 3-time Olympic medalist Yannick Agnel, Olympic Gold medalist Conor Dwyer, pool and open water Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Matt McLean, 6-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt, US Butterfly National Champion Tom Luchsinger, open water and pool elite Becca Mann, Olympic medalist and World Champion Lotte Friis, NCAA Champion and World Medalist Chase Kalisz, US National Champion Gillian Ryan,  Junior Worlds gold medalist Cierra Runge, paralympic swim star Jessica Long, and Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of all time (if he officially comes back).

Over the next two and half years, as we approach the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, whether or not NBAC is the greatest swim team (club  team, not an NGB team)  will be determined.  Among the US  super clubs, SwimMAC is extremely formiddable as is David Salo’s crew at Trojan Aquatic Club.

If you had to predict which club will put the most athletes on Olympic Teams, which would it be? 

You can follow Coach Bob Bowman on Twitter here.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com.

RECENT GOLD MEDAL MINUTES PRESENTED BY SWIMOUTLET.COM

Comments

  1. 0
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    ahh so that is why none of the NBAC swimmers were at the Orlando Grand Prix. Good post by Gold Medal Mel

  2. Firefox says:
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    It seems they lack a sprint group. Kind of pre-mature to call them the greatest group ever? Unless thats based solely on medal count. Great place if you swim the 200 and above though.

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      That’s somewhat true. I have a feeling Agnel (French) and Dwyer (US) will make the 4×100 free relay in 2016. They both have 100 speed…. You’re right, though. They’ll train 200-400, and simply pop fast 100s, not neccessarily b/c they train for them. (NOTE: The more I hear about Bob’s sets, the more it sounds like he does a lot of speed work. Something I’d like to learn more about as perception is that he’s just crushing his swimmers with high-intensity mid-distance work.) Of course SwimMAC/David Marsh is the sprint pro team (super club). Coach Marsh put 5 on the 2012 US OG Team, many of which I thought were on the bubble before hand. (2nd NOTE: Phelps? If Phelps is back, I think Bob will focus him 200 down, with a strong emphasis on 100 speed….but that’s just my opinion, a prediction.)

    • weirdo says:
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      not sure greatest unless he developed them? It will be hard to beat Santa Clara in the heyday or Mission Viejo??

      • Peterdavis says:
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        Even accounting for time inflation(deflation?) this NBAC squad is pretty close to if not on Santa Clara’s 1960s/70s level. Very cool stuff. Anybody else remember the 90s when the entire travel squad for NBAC wore ‘Phelps’ on their caps? They used to come out to meets like LC Far Westerns held at Santa Clara. Looking back it seems like even then Michael’s future was being thoughtfully planned for. And this current super-team is still part of that plan. He’ll be back.

      • ChestRockwell says:
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        Please define the parameters you use when discussing a coach who “develops” a swimmer. What is the age range/ability level they need to being coaching the swimmer for it to “count” as development?

      • Flyin' says:
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        Does it matter if he developed them the whole way? That never happens in other sports. Players switch coaches every time they take a step up in the world and even after they reach the top, they tend to move around some. That’s just the world of sports.

        • ChestRockwell says:
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          But you have to understand, this is swimming, where coaches get super offended when a swimmer leaves their clutches and wants credit for “development.” Apparently, taking a 1:39 200 freestyler and making them 1:35 doesn’t count as development, nor does taking a Olympic Gold Medalist and making him faster. That stage of development deserves no credit to some, although none can articulate why.

          • Hulk Swim says:
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            I’d you don’t have them on your roster upon leaving the womb, you didn’t do crap…

            It only counts if you coach them 6 days a week from swim lessons to middle age.

  3. Swimmer says:
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    I would love to see a dual meet between NBAC and SwimMac Team Elite.

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      NBAC
      SwimMAC
      Cal Bears post Grads
      Stanford post Grads
      Michigan post Grads
      Trojan post Grads
      Tx post Grads
      etc (as there are more pro clubs out there and around the world)
      Seems to me, these teams are enough to launch a pro league. Why not? It could be fun. It could start off as a way for post grads to get race ready with one-day meets under 3 hours. They could travel to each others pools and do training camps the week before to breakup training… There are too many reasons (ways) to make this work. The season: Feb 1 to the end of March to mirror the college conference/NCAA champ season.

      • Danm133 says:
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        Along with New York athletic club.

        • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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          That’s right! NYAC is building a great pro team….

          • Old timer says:
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            NYAC with an impressive meet at Metropolitan SC Champs
            http://bgnwmarlins.usswim.net/Results/2014/Senior-Mets-Winter/Championships.htm

          • handymom says:
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            I wish the N.Y.A.C the best. But looking at the Metropolitan Senior Mets (SCY) meet results one can clearly see that the Metro young talent still out swim the older swimmers. With the New York State High School Championship taking place only days after the Senior Mets the 16 and 17 yr olds swam incredibly well, even in events that are not their best.
            Conaton, Plaschka & Cono went on to take the State High School meet and records by storm. Each swam and became New York State Champions and record holders. Well done!
            Conaton heads off to Stanford, Plaschka to Notre Dame and Cono to the “Wolfpack” at North Carolina State. Go Pack!!

          • handymom says:
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            Additional talent from Metro’s 18 & under, Lozano, Lin and Hall. I reserve the right to add to the list.

      • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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        Could be fun to watch Marseille come along, or one of the Brazilian teams where there’s WAY more emphasis on team scoring.

        • Rafael says:
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          Brazil have 3 big teams who could cause some internacional impact (Corinthians, Pinheiros and Minas) each one of them being oriented toward a specific formation.. while there are swimmers who are not afiliated with them and are World Class swimmers (Thiago Pereira, e.g.)

    • Flyin' says:
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      Especially if Phelps comes back. Then you have the Lochte vs. Phelps all over again!!

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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      RE: Mac sprinters vs. NBAC middle-distance – I think this is part of what is going to make a pro league work. Swimmers getting outside of their comfort zones a little, going after different races. See who’s a better 50 freestyler in-season: Ryan Lochte or Michael Phelps. I spend a lot of time thinking about pro leagues, and I think they work best if the format forces people to swim ‘different’ events. I think that’s what will create parity and what will create excitement, and most importantly what will create interest and conversation among the fans. It will help kill off the “this doesn’t matter because it’s not the Olympics” attitude.

  4. Hulk Swim says:
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    That’d be boring… swimmac would win the short stuff, nbac the longer stuff…

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      I don’t think so… Again, Agnel, Dwyer even McLean can pop sprints. If Phelps is in the mix, the entire picture changes as well. At the end of the day, a one-day meet, ideal under 90 minutes, is exciting to watch anyway. HULK SWIM, I’d watch these two teams go at each other in a combined practice. That’s exciting enough.

    • Swammer says:
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      The format / event schedule would be a debate for the coaches to hash out. Obviously, there are events that match up more favorably for some programs then others.
      I think it’s telling that the NBAC roster would be able to work down from their primary events, giving them more event options.

  5. Danm133 says:
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    Personally I would love to see a pro league. It would also be cool to have a pro league champs maybe? Or even some sort of playoff system

  6. swim coach says:
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    i agree that all the post-grad programs are leading to more pro swimmers. the most difficult part will be getting some pro events televised. obviously, for tv time and cost, events like 400′s and longer won’t get shown in their entirety… well, maybe. 800/1000/1500/1650 nope.

    perhaps the grand prix series will evolve to be televised and shown at a time on the weekend when it can be actually seen. what, how, is usa-s doing anything to that done?

    or does a whole new pro league get started? what, if any, effects would that have on usa-s? does a pro league set up a draft? do swimmers just choose their teams?

    hmmm. all good questions!

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      I see the USA Swimming GP Series continuing to evolve in positive ways, better TV coverage at better time, more purse money, etc. (Universal Sports, the TV coverage, is improving. You can expect and better coverage 2015-16.)

      Pro league is separate in my opinion. I’ll address that in a separate post (my opinion, hoping for strong input from readers. I continue to believe the swim audience will define exactly what they want and all parties involve should listen very, very closely).

      • Rafael says:
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        Universal showing is good, but they lacl on one THING BIG BIG TIME.

        Why no INTERNACIONAL coverage???

        • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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          Univ Sport is US-based, but I don’t see why their GP coverage couldn’t be international. I’ll ask about that today.

          • Rafael says:
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            Sorry If my coment was not clear enough.

            I was not asking that they should cover competition on other countries.. but they should make it availabe for Non-US viewers to watch the competitions they cover. Thanks for the answer Mel!

      • THallTarheel says:
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        I know there are few parallels between the two sports, but I think a pro swimming league that is similar (or based upon) the World Team Tennis setup could potentially work.

  7. jman says:
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    i think Bowman’s CW team leading up to 2008 was better. Phelps and Schmitt along with Vanerkaay(s), Vendt, Keller(s), Clary, Spann (who did most of his training there), Sandeno, Tarwater, etc. That team had more than 45 trial qualifiers.

    Regarding pro-league, UM already tried it and it was sparsely attended. And Ann Arbor is a good swimming town. Not sure it would work (but i wish it would).

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      Timing was tough. It was during the Golden Goggles runup. Also, this is going to start off slowly, but it will gain steam fast. It takes a biz model, and a lot of smart, young people evolving the concept. It’s important to listen closely to the swim audience, engage them, make them a part of the league, give them a reason to tune-in. That does take an enormous amount of marketing. The swim audience is there, but they need to be aggregated and passionate about what’s being delivered to them.

      • Flyin' says:
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        And swimming is still getting bigger, televised coverage and SwimSwam here are doing a lot to create a crowd of people who really just enjoy every aspect of swimming and would love to see a pro league. The audience is getting bigger and you’re doing tons for it, thanks Mel!

    • john26 says:
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      I would say that the current crop is a stronger group, if you take out Phelps (the ace in the whole). Agnel and Dwyer are on the trajectory to far surpass the accomplishments of either the Vanderkaays and the Kellers. In particular, Agnel is on the path to become the greatest 200 freestyler in history (think about it, who else has won gold twice?) . Either way, Ous and Friis are top 2/3 distance swimmers in the world. Let’s not forget Schmitt is still with Bowman.

  8. MGsprinter says:
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    Does anyone know what’s the music that starts in 5:08?

  9. samuel huntington says:
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    bowman basically got the best swimmers to come join him when they were already at their peak. mclean years at UVA, ous at SC, dwyer at Florida, yannick from france, friis, luchsinger, and mann. plus kalisz spends most of his time at georgia. so Bowman didn’t really do much to make these swimmers fast. most already had gold medals before joining the group.

    • Gold Medal Mel Stewart says:
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      True, but they’re at a new level, striving to get more out of their careers, which is why they want to train among elites. (BTW, Bowman didn’t recruit them. That was very clear behind the scenes. They recruited each other, athlete to athlete…. This happens often before the next Olympics, but I haven’t seen this strong a crew come together this soon. SwimMAC, of course, had their elites as early as 2013, but Marsh’s ’12 performance speaks for itself.)

  10. Flyin' says:
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    I think a pro league sounds like a great idea. Perhaps they could even incorporate existing meets into a point system or something. I wouldn’t want to take swimmers away from the Grand Prix meets or Nationals, but I also wouldn’t want to see them merely engulfed by a pro league.

  11. Mead says:
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    I think you’ve gotta put the University of Michigan up there for that stretch between ’04 and ’08. They had Bowman training Phelps, Klete Keller, all the Vanderkaays, Erik Vendt, Kaitlin Sandeno, Allison Schmitt, Chris Thompson, Deyoung, Tyler Clary…They had some big names in the sport and should be in this convo as well.

    P.S. Prediction: Michigan will win the national championship again this year.

  12. AL says:
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    Love how they mention assembled..these athletes are post college predominantly and/or lack a pro team to suit them as in other sports, so they come to him for that reason. Other than that I can’t really give him credit for their success as much as I would somewhere else. There needs to be more post-NCAA places for athletes to train, and a league for these swimmers to compete in. Although that would be nice, a lot of the pros train at their own pace and some only need to months before major meets etc. Overall, I don’t think he deserves credit for their success, he just simply is a great facilitator and coach that gives an inch and expects a mile.

  13. Bowser says:
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    What about the SOPAC Team in Sydney. They dropped a 3.17.9 in the 400 free relay in December in season! Featuring a 47.7 split from Magnussen

    • Triguy says:
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      Also commercial coached by simon cusack. Bronte and cate Campbell, Christian sprenger + more. Not exactly best in world club, but high in australia I would say

  14. SwimFan says:
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    Kalisz is home grown NBAC. He is only in his third semester training at UGA as did not enroll until the 2nd semester last season. He trains at NBAC when not in school including for the World Championships last summer beginning with the Colorado training camp in May. He and Dwyer were killing it last summer in IM sets

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    i think the development of NBAC, swimMAC, NYAC and even the smaller post grad clubs like IX3, Schroeder Y, T2 and others are the best thing to happen to american swimming. college swimming is great, but we need a way for those with a desire for more to continue after college when both men and women are capable of accomplishing things they cannot do without ~10 years of heavy training. i liken it to the pro leagues in the 4 major sports. very rarely do you see a football player enter their first draft younger than 22. baseball is a bit different but the avg age on those teams is significantly higher than 23, the usual top age of an american college swimmer. i ccan’t wait to see where these men and women go in their careers. I absolutely hate UNC swimming (love the school and their other sports). i started swimming because my dad was good friends with mark bernadino, and as such will never root for the tarheels, but i absolutely love luschinger. i hope that one day maybe he’ll marry missy franklin. as far as personalities go those are the 2 most postive upbeat and exception roll models for young swimmers. i think lushinger is the perfect roll model for young male swimmers, as he worked extremely hard and always stayed positive through the good and the bad. someday i hope to meet him and tell him how he almost changed my opinion on the tarheels. almost. sorry tom. nobody could do that

  16. Adam says:
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    Texas men 2003-2009.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

GOLD MEDAL MEL, medal shot copy

Mel Stewart, aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, and USA Swimming. Mel has also worked as an Olympic analyst for ABC, NBC, EPSN, FOX SPORTS and TBS. At SwimSwam.com, Mel hosts Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com, a weekly report featuring the world’s fastest swimmers and Olympic medalists. Read More »