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


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.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shark Aquatics
3 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.

Reply to  Shark Aquatics
3 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.

Reply to  Shark Aquatics
3 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.

Reply to  Shark Aquatics
3 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
3 years ago


Paul J
3 years ago

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

Joel Lin
Reply to  Paul J
3 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.

3 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

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 …

Read More »