Competitor Coach of the Month: Bob Bowman

Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

The 2022 World Championships were a phenomenal one for Arizona State University, as rising sophomore Leon Marchand had a breakthrough performance on the international stage with two gold medals and one silver in Budapest.

Marchand, who joined forces with ASU coach Bob Bowman last year, produced the second-fastest 400 IM in history en route to the world title, clocking 4:04.28. The only swim faster? The 4:03.84 done by Bowman’s former pupil, Michael Phelps, back in 2008.

In that same race, Chase Kalisz, who has trained under Bowman at various points in his career (but is based out of the University of Georgia), won bronze in 4:07.47.

 

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Marchand went on to win the 200 IM in 1:55.22, and added a runner-up showing in the 200 fly (1:53.37), setting new French Records in both.

But Marchand wasn’t the only swimmer out of Bowman’s staple at ASU that performed well last week.

Hali Flickinger won gold on the U.S. women’s 4×200 free relay and added a silver in the 200 fly.

Ryan Held, an American sprinter who joined Sun Devil Swimming after getting bumped from the Olympic team last summer, primarily trains under ASU associate Herbie Behm, but nonetheless had an excellent showing in Budapest with one gold, one silver and one bronze medal in relays.

Another sprinter, Carter Swift, broke New Zealand’s national record in the men’s 100 free in his Worlds debut, tying for 21st in 48.79.

It’s been a resurgent last few years at Arizona State, not only with the college team, but in the development of the pro group spearheaded by Flickingr and Held.

And with Bowman at the helm, the sky is the limit.

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Hank
1 month ago

His practices got to hurt to produce 4:03-4:05 400LCM IMers!

Last edited 1 month ago by Hank
formerswim
1 month ago

Fan of Bob.. but not fan of him coaching with another country? Anyone else?

Facts
Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

He’s just following the footsteps of Singapore swimming legend Eddie Reese

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

Touche
Eddie coached Schooling who beat Phelps.
Now Bowman coaches Marchand who’s beating Foster
Both Eddie Reese and Bob Bowman are great coaches and those swimmers they trained helped their respective colleges.

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Swimswam follower
1 month ago

That being said Foster is a stud who’s 145 200 free is a much needed leg on America’s 4×200 free relay and he delivered.

Hank
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

Marchand is a collegiate athlete at ASU lol

Zh.
Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

Really? Merica

Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

Really? Merica

Peaty55Paris
Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

Yea tbh I wish he could coach Carson as he’s the up-and-coming future of American IM….Maybe make his 4 IM as fast as Marchands. It’s great he’s coaching Marchand but a little strange that he will inevitably be contributing to golds for another country in 2024. Go Marchand, though insane worlds performance.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peaty55Paris
Jack
Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

A rising tide raises all boats. What did Bowman do after Michael got beat in the 200 free in 2004? He went to Australia to put Michael in Grant Hackett’s training group for a summer. Michael joining Dennis Cottrell’s pro group on the Gold Coast for those months is, largely, why Phelps went 1:43 (and then 1:42) in the 200 free, and a big part of him flirting with the 100 freestyle WR on the relay against France. Without Aussie coaching, I don’t think America would have someone who won 8 golds.

This sport is very nationalistic when the big meets come around. But every other week of the year, the best coaches just want to see swimming get… Read more »

John
Reply to  formerswim
1 month ago

I wouldn’t want anyone to put that kind of restriction on my own coaching career so no, not with you.

Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Underrated coach. It wasn’t just Phelps.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

It’s kinda funny to say that the coach of the greatest swimmer of all time is underrated, but probably true. One thing for sure is, if you want to be a 400 IMer, Bob is your man.

Thomas
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

Allison Schmidt is a Bob Bowman product too. Might even still hold the American record in the 2free.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Thomas
1 month ago

Kalisz, too.

Human Ambition
1 month ago

For me who likes distance swimming Fabrizio Antonelli had a really great meet (with one more medal than Bowman) and 13 top five positions:

Greg P: 2 golds, 1silver, 1 bronze
Dario V: 1 gold
Leonie B: 1 gold, 1 silver.
Domenico A: 1 silver, 1 bronze.

Marc Antoine O: 4th, 5th, 4th.
Barbara P: 4th.

Who did I forget?

Blake pierogi
Reply to  Human Ambition
1 month ago

Read the first sentence. “Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition”

Human Ambition
Reply to  Blake pierogi
1 month ago

I did not oppose to that. Thought it was worth looking outside of the US bubble. I am sorry if you disagree.

mds
Reply to  Human Ambition
1 month ago

In keeping with both the subject of the article and this pool/Open discussion, there was another former ASU/Bowman athlete who did well at the Fina World Championships, including a medal.

Anna Olasz was part of the Hungarian Silver medal winning Mixed 4 x 1500 relay. Individually, she was 6th in the 10K Open Water event, after having finished 4th in the Tokyo Olympic Open Water event, just 2.3 seconds off the podium.

Bowman became the ASU coach in 2015; Olasz was already there but continued under Bowman until graduating in 2017. Whether she continued to train in Tempe for some period thereafter I don’t know.

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Human Ambition
1 month ago

Very impressive but open water shouldn’t be compared to pool medals.

Human Ambition
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

Why Not?

mds
Reply to  Human Ambition
1 month ago

Agreed. Why not. Among the names putting in competitive performances in both the pool and the Open Water Course were Paltrinieri, Wellbroeck, Romanchuk and Katie Grimes. This level of athlete competing in both validates each.

Human Ambition
Reply to  mds
1 month ago

Exactly. I can come up with several:

• It’s the same coaches that train distance swimmers in pool and distance swimmers in Open water. At the Open Water races I have met Anthony Nesty, Ron Aitken, Josh White, Philippe Lucas, Marcel Wouda, Nikos Gemellis, Mark Schubert, Bill Rose, Cory Chitwood, Mark Bernardino, Bernd Berkhans etc.

• It is a great overlap of swimmers 1500 to OW. Kate Ledecky is one of few not doubling.

• Refining distance swimmers takes as much work and know how as refining sprinters.

• Seven Gold Medals are awarded at World Championships.

• Distance sports are ramping in media. Triathlon, Swimrun, Tour ade France, Tour de Ski. Swimming just needs to get on the boat.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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