The Bowman Effect: Arizona State’s Momentum in the Pac-12

2017 MEN’S PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

In Bob Bowman‘s 2nd year as head coach, the ASU men finished 4th at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships. That may not seem significant place-wise, but their performances shed a bright light on the future of the program. The Sun Devils scored the highest amount of points at the conference meet in the history of the program, racking up a final score of 531 to move ahead of in-state rival Arizona.

From ASU’s Press Release:

“ASU finished fourth in the meet (531) while Stanford (784), Cal (767), and USC (657) went 1-2-3. The Sun Devils finished ahead of Arizona (360) and Utah (257), and with a finish ahead of the Wildcats, picked up a Territorial Cup point for the 2016-17 season. ASU finishes ahead of U of A for the first time since 2003.
 
The fourth place finish is Arizona State’s highest for the men since 2008 when they also finished fourth while their 531 points was the highest number of points accumulated in a Pac-10/12 championship as a team.”

Arizona State only earned 2 medals in 2016: A bronze from the 400 free relay and a bronze from Christian Lorenz in the 200 breast. In 2017, they quadrupled that with 8 total medals. The team brought home 3 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze medals. Their 400 free relay victory was just their 4th relay title in program history. While the 400 free relay was the only relay they medaled in last season, they landed on the podium in 3 relays this time around.

One of the biggest stars for the Sun Devils over the weekend was freshman Cameron Craig, who brought home 2 gold medals after his performances in the 100 free (41.95) and 200 free (1:31.71), earning Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet honors. His 200 free time was a new Pac-12 Meet Record, and he’s now the 9th fastest performer ever in the event.

Fellow freshman Ben Olszewski was also a top 8 finisher, placing 4th in the 1650 free and 7th in the 500 free. Senior Richard Bohus led the way for the upperclassmen putting up 2 NCAA ‘A’ cut times. Bohus picked up silver in the 100 back (45.23) and bronze in the 200 back (1:39.52).

Throughout the meet, the Sun Devils rewrote the school record book over 15 times. They’ll now prepare for the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana from March 23-25.

 

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Shark Aquatics
4 years ago

I dont really think this whole “Bowman effect” is an actual thing. Any coach can push their swimmers hard in practice and make them better. If they call if a Bowman effect, then they should definitely have a Eddie Reese effect where every swimmer is fast and you win championships.

Calbearfan
Reply to  Shark Aquatics
4 years ago

It doesn’t reflect poorly on Eddie to say Bob is doing a great job. It’s ok to admit there is more than one good coach in the entire landscape of collegiate swimming. Well done ASU- keep it rolling.

DLswim
Reply to  Shark Aquatics
4 years ago

I disagree with the statement that “Any coach can push their swimmers hard in practice and make them better.” There’s plenty of college programs where swimmers don’t improve much. Moreover, the improvement over last year is drastic. You can attribute this to better recruiting if you want, but good recruiting is part of being a good college coach. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if this was a one-year anomaly, but the data indicate that there is such an effect.

AZSwimFan
Reply to  Shark Aquatics
4 years ago

Well let us be realistic in all of this. Not too long ago ASU swimming was on the verge of extinction! In years past they were not fully funded and now they are fully funded meaning probably 100% more in scholarships in less than two years….realisically that means 4.5 full scholarships more. Anyone could improve this team with that! Bowman would not accept the job without it! And this has nothing to do with Bob Bowman as a coach!

Sun Devil Diva
Reply to  AZSwimFan
4 years ago

AZSwimFan…WRONG!

Paul J
4 years ago

Or he recruited really well, similar to the “Meehan or Mckeever effect.”

Joel Lin
Reply to  Paul J
4 years ago

He’s done a great job developing ASU swimmers this year. If he can recruit well from here, it’s up and away.

Taa
4 years ago

The program has improved since he was made coach? Therefore he has had a positive effect. I think that’s how you say it unless you believe it’s all random

Dcrabbe6
4 years ago

The bowman effect is simply he draws in amazing talent cause of his reputation as a coach. Not that solely his training is that good. Lol

Frank
Reply to  Dcrabbe6
4 years ago

i feel like this could have been left unstated thanks to its obviousness

Uberfan
4 years ago

Craig was already a beast. Also he can’t really take credit for the seniors they were already on this upward trajectory

Sun Devil Diva
Reply to  Uberfan
4 years ago

The seniors have been training with him for a couple years now, even Andrew Porter. If these seniors never improved their times since Bowman started coaching them, then you might have a point.

Bowman joined ASU in April of 2015. By that time, the top 100 nationally ranked swimmers for Class 2015 have already been recruited which usually begins on July 1st of the previous year (2014).

Bowman’s first recruits are the freshmen this year, Class 2016. Everyone could agree that he did pretty well as far as his first batch of recruits, unless of course you have a personal vendetta against Bowman.

Like I said, don’t be too anxious, Uberfan! Phelps didn’t happen in 2 years.

Lane Four
Reply to  Sun Devil Diva
4 years ago

I love your last statement! “Phelps didn’t happen in 2 years.” I gotta remember that one.

Larry Huntswerther
Reply to  Sun Devil Diva
4 years ago

He’ll get tired of there in another year or so and move somewhere else.

SlickNick
Reply to  Uberfan
4 years ago

Craig was good, but not this good. He’s gone from a 1:37- 1:31 in his 200 free and a 43.4-41.9 in his 100. Also a 1:45 – 1:42 in his 200 IM. I’ve swam with him and he’s always made improvements in solid quantities, and even coming in he got better in LCM, but what he’s done his freshman year at ASU is nuts.

Fan
4 years ago

They will graduate a lot of seniors

Caleb
4 years ago

Some of these comments are pathetic. ASU had a great season by any count, the program looks great, of course you give credit to the coach. it doesn’t diminish the athletes. And they are graduating a couple of guys but the bulk of the scorers are back and they have a couple more top recruits coming in. Tough to crack that top 3 in the Pac-12 but I will be surprised if ASU isn’t better next year. IMO they’ll be top-15 at NCAAs this year and have a good shot at cracking the top 10 next year.

Frank Wilson
Reply to  Caleb
4 years ago

As someone who has followed ASU Swimming closely for since 1999, I can state from personal observation that Bob Bowman has had a tremendous positive effect on the program. The swimmers are both more motivated, learning and using more advanced techniques than in the past. The best measure of the impact of Bob’s coaching on the team is the large number of team members who have posted “personal best times” this year, many of whom have made very significant improvements in their times from previous years.

Sun Devil Diva
Reply to  Caleb
4 years ago

I completely agree with you, Caleb! ASU will podium next year. Bowman, his coaching staff and his team know that top 3 is tough to crack but they also know what it will take to get there. 2016 was a great start for ASU!

It was funny how everyone including the PAC-12 commentators didn’t see it coming, and how ASU rose up to the competition. It was fun to watch and listen to their comments, reaction of total shock when the ASU relay beat CAL, Stanford, USC and Arizona! It was pretty entertaining…ha!

Again, Phelps didn’t happen in 2 years. MP certainly happened under Bowman’s watch…and that’s a fact! Another fact of the matter is there’s no other swim coach… Read more »

bobo gigi
4 years ago

What? Bowman can coach? According to several swimming “specialists” on swimswam, he’s overrated and was just lucky to train MP and his amazing natural talent. I have read he couldn’t train girls. I have read that he was also responsible for the end of career of Yannick Agnel and that he also destroyed Mellouli and Friis. Well. I repeat he’s also responsible for the 1929 crisis!

A good coach is someone who makes the most of his/her swimmers.
However you can’t transform donkeys into racehorses.
No miracles. If you recruit good talents you have more chances to have results.
And Cameron Craig has probably not chosen ASU by coincidence. He knows that Bowman and MP can help… Read more »

Bob
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

He was responsible for Angels decline.

Tyler Durden
Reply to  Bob
4 years ago

We all are

Zanna
Reply to  Bob
4 years ago

Agnel declined even more after he left Bowman.

dude 2.0
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

I have always been critical of Bob, but it is foolish to say that ASU isn’t better with him. Compared to where they were 3 years ago, they are suddenly very very good, and that’s a fact. Chalk it up to better recruiting, or better coaching, its clear that he is simply doing a better job.

Swimmer A
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

I’m definitely a donkey….

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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