Exclusive Interview with Bob Bowman

  50 Garrett McCaffrey | June 19th, 2012 | Featured, London 2012 Olympics, National, U.S. Olympic Trials

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50 Comments on "Exclusive Interview with Bob Bowman"

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Jean Michel
4 years 4 months ago

ALLISON will be owesome this summer ……..i just hope for her all the best !!!

Jean Michel
4 years 4 months ago

Very enjoyable and interesting intervieuw with a fabulous coach ! thanks Garrett . great job .

4 years 4 months ago

Garrett is, and continues to be, one of the best, most knowledgeable interviewers the swimming world has. I’ve been following his work since the days of floswim and he continues to impress.

4 years 4 months ago


4 years 4 months ago

Why doesn’t USA Swimming hire Garrett to do their commentating during televised meets and also to do their interviews at Trials after the races. Hands down the best at bringing an enjoyable personality to commentating! Looking forward to SwimSwam’s coverage of Trials!

4 years 4 months ago

Rowdy signed a contract with NBC a while back… He’ll be in that position forever. I’d prefer Garret of Rowdy any day of the week, that’s for sure.

4 years 4 months ago

Rowdy Gaines isn’t too bad, at least NBC knows enough to put somebody knowledgable in there, but I’d have to say I’d love to see Mel Stewart in the booth!! He does an incredible job with that kind of stuff with his enthusiasm and love for the sport.

4 years 4 months ago

I muted my TV when Gaines was commentating.

4 years 4 months ago

Why can’t Rowdy shut his mouth when the athletes are about to start their races? What can’t Rowdy keep his mouth shut until at least 2 strokes into the race? I mean, come on. You got to stop the constant yattering.

Give the start before and after some space.

Has some TV exec told him to yatter non stop?

For reference, watch the TV coverage of the 100m sprint at any track and field meet. Those guys in the booth doing commentary do not say BOO! They wait until after the gun goes off and they are long gone down the track.

The stillnessl draws your interest.

I listened to Mel Stewart comment at a Grand Prix meet. He understands the pacing of the voice in relation to the race.

It is the space and quite between the notes that makes it all so interesting.

Justin Thompson
4 years 4 months ago

Not sure why everyone is hating on Rowdy. He’s done a fabulous job and that isn’t to say Garrett and Mel couldn’t, but lets not get carried away in saying he’s so bad you have to mute your TV. This isn’t golf and why is it important for you to hear the start? Swimming is for the most part an unknown sport to the average US fan so people like Rowdy and Mel providing background info before, during, and after races is very important to grow the sport.

4 years 4 months ago

Quite. Won’t deny Mr. Gaines seems to know his stuff, but I think he tends to get rather too passionate or distracted going on & on ’bout a certain pet topic or personality… unfortunately at the expense of what’s really happening or developing in the actual race.

A few examples:

1) Shanghai – kept on emphasising Lezak’s legendary leg in the 400 free relay from Beijing, long after it was evident that no such repeat performance was in the cards for Lezak to catch up to either Abood or Meynard (he was in fact 3rd slowest on his leg) Or knocking the AUS selection for their women’s medley relay squad non-stop, from before the start almost all the way to Coughlin getting her hand to the wall, thus essentially wasting relevant commentary on the progress of 1/4 of the race!

2) Pan Pacs – just focussed almost exclusively on his calculations re Soni breaking the WR in the 200 breast throughout, ignoring the foreign nationals in the adjacent lanes other than a perfunctory mention of Jones, and even being quite dismissive of Suzuki at one point.

3) Rome – no reference or credits to the Russians even when Izotov put his country in the lead on the 3rd leg of the 400 fr relay, and it was quite clear on the final 2 laps that RUS was good for the silver, not the French “arch rivals”.

Now I don’t mean to vent excessively or rant as Gaines has very solid credentials, and at times does offer some great insights and predictions. He is evidently very passionate about his sport and his country, and
no doubt he has to shape his commentary, following guidelines from NBC producers, for a partisan US audience most of whom are not all that swimming savvy.

Perhaps I’m just spoilt by Gaines’ counterparts on British Eurosport, who knows? 🙂

4 years 4 months ago

hey go easy on rowdy he means well if not perfect all the time

streamliner u might be interested in this article then haha

someone who might be fantastic for the on deck interviews would be summer saunders don’t ya think

andrea kremer’s more familiar to sports fan sure but summer’s more knowledgable about swimming and makes for a better fit

either of these two women are infinitely preferable to that eye candy blonde they had doing nationals last year + the pan pacs lol

4 years 3 months ago


That ‘eye candy blonde’ happens to be the luvly Alex Flanagan, who I have absolutely no problem at all seeing on my big screen! Bobo will back me up on this, I guarantee it!!!

Her vital stats are on display at:

4 years 3 months ago

I do generally like Rowdy’s commentary, though he’s a bit talkative. But my #1 pet peeve is how often he’ll say “Just watch…” during races. It’s really the worst phrase an announcer could possibly use – uhh, I’m already watching. Either lead-in to something a bit more gracefully or just describe it as it’s happening.

Though if you wanna be mean, Kaitlin Sandeno was really bad announcing the Big Ten championship meet.

4 years 3 months ago

i still recall rolling my eyes and snorting when andrea k had congratulated rebecca on her 100 ->backstroke<- WC win back in '09 lol

Mr. Neptune
4 years 4 months ago

Excellent talk on the PED portion. However, I find it interesting that you made no mention of his 3 month ban following his little bong incident. It may not be performance enhancing but it is still illegal nonetheless.

Andy Dixon
4 years 4 months ago

Why would that be a relevant topic of conversation today? It has nothing to do with his final few weeks of training/tapering for trials, which is what this interview was focused on.

Mr. Neptune
4 years 4 months ago

It is 100% relevant to the portion of the interview focusing on PED use in sports!

4 years 4 months ago

Neptune – You do know that the PE in PED stands for Performance Enhancing – or maybe you don’t?

4 years 4 months ago

Irrelevant……to the topic under discussion which was performance enhancing drugs.

4 years 4 months ago

Not remotely relevant.

4 years 3 months ago

annoying troll or annoying ignorance

4 years 4 months ago

Phelps should have fought that 3 month suspension. There was no way to tell what was in that bong in the picture and as far as I know he never failed a drug test. Those things are LEGALLY sold for LEGAL use. He (Meaning his coach Bowman who calls the shots) probably didn’t want the issue to get blown up any bigger than it already was.

4 years 4 months ago

Phelps made the right decision by not appealing the suspension.
Appealing would have made him a douche.

4 years 4 months ago

Oh really what proof do you have that the act seen in that grainy photograph was illegal?

4 years 4 months ago

So, if Phelps was really ingesting the illegal drug, do you really want to see him appeal?

4 years 4 months ago

There is no way to tell he was ingesting an illegal drug.

4 years 4 months ago

I admire Phelps’ character more for accepting responsibility rather than fight off the punishment and get off from technicalities.
(and OJ simpson did not kill his wife)

Phelps Fan
4 years 4 months ago

Phelps is as clean as a whistle. No spikes in performance. His time improvements have been gradual over his long career. WADA should instead be testing 6 times a week a certain swimmer in Aussie who virtually came from nowhere and within a year dropped almost a second and a half from their 100m freestyle PB??? The previous year he failed to even make his countries relay team?

4 years 4 months ago


James Roberts?

He made the relay team in Shanghai, and his improvement rate curve this year actually is inline with his improvement rate from 2010-2011.

Get your facts right.

4 years 4 months ago

He must be talking about it Magnussen, but i dont think his 100 curve pro-cheat…

His 50 free is much more impressive, from 22.42 to 21.74(less than a year) in high level is very rare but not impossible.
There is a lot of break out swimmers around the world doing huge drops of time.
Till someone can prove it, he is definitely CLEAN.

Do you have Mag best times at early age(15-18years old)?

4 years 4 months ago

If Phelps fan meant James Magnussen, s/he is even clueless than I thought.

James Magnussen was actually relay member of silver winning 4×100 free in 2010 Pan Pacs in Irvine, and he was a member of gold winning 4×100 free in Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

And Magnussen did not drop a second and a half from previous year’s free PB. He was 48.94 in 2010 Pan pacs when he’d just turned 19. And he was 49.43 when he was 18.

So here’s his progression:
18: 49.43
early 19: 48.94
late 19: 48.29
20: 47.49
late 20: 47.10

And if Phelps fan does not think Magnussen is currently the most drug-tested Australian swimmer, he is even more clueless about competitive swimming and drug testing procedure.

As for Phelps’ 6 times drug test in 3 weeks, it is very fortunate. On the other side, it is fitting that the most successful swimmer in the history of the sport is also the most tested. Not because there’s suspicion, but because that is the standard.
It will send out warning to would be cheaters that the more successful you are, the more you will get tested.
It was the persistence of the drug-testers that finally forced the hand of Michelle Smith De-Bruijn.

Phelps Fan
4 years 4 months ago

Late 2010 48.94 to a 47.5 in mid 2011. That my friend is whats called a spike in performance. The man was not even injured in 2010. But was supposedly not 100% in 2011!

4 years 4 months ago

I meant:
“As for Phelps’ 6 times drug test in 3 weeks, it is very UNfortunate”

sheesshh..there’s no editing tool in this site.

4 years 4 months ago

If 48.94 to 47.49 in a year is a spike in performance, then almost all of Phelps’ best times throughout his early career up to 2007 were a lot more than spikes in performance.

Did you even see the ridiculousness in your assertion?

You (and I) can come up with reasons why Phelps had spikes in performances in his early career, and you can also apply almost all the same reasons to Magnussen.

I have followed competitive swimming since 1992 Barcelona, and your accusation that Magnussen is on drug is among the most laughable thing I’ve heard.

Phelps Fan
4 years 4 months ago

We are talking about a 100m event here. Its not uncommon for someone to drop 1 second within a year for longer event. I don’t think phelps in his late teens or later has dropped more than 1.5sec for any 100m event within a space of 12months. I have not seen it with any other athlete.
Few people are saying anything about this but I think its an unusual “spike in performance”.

4 years 4 months ago

Phelps fan,

it seems you don’t even know the age of Magnussen and when he started his elite swimming training..

read below to educate yourself.

Also, who says swimmers should not drop 1.5 seconds in 100 meter event within 12 months?
There are plenty of examples of swimmers who do so.

Here for some example:
Cameron McEvoy:
July 2009: 54.98
April 2012: 51.29
April 2011: 49.70
December 2011: 49.19
March 2012: 48.58

So are you saying we should now suspect Mcevoy too, right, because Mcevoy has been “spiking”?

And who says Phelps never had 1.5 second improvement within 12 months in 100 events?

100 Fly:
2000 : 55.01
2001: 52.98
2002: 51.88
2003: 51.10

100 free:
2002: no data available, outside 150
2003: 49.19 (ranked #13)

Or how about Missy Franklin?
100 free
2010: 55.07 (#41)
2011: 53.63 (#7)

Phelps Fan
4 years 4 months ago

Dropping chunks of time from your early teens is normal. Doing so close to 20 is a different story. Unless he began his career at 18. In 2000 phelps was only a 15 yr so that progression from 15 to 18 is not abnormal for a young teen.

4 years 4 months ago

Breeja Larson.

That is all.

4 years 4 months ago

Phelps fan,

this is men 100 free we are talking about, where normally they are taking off huge chunks of time between 18-22, this is not women 100 breast.

Just study the statistics of men 100 free in the past 20-30 years, and you will know that.

4 years 4 months ago

Phelps fan,

and yes, Magnussen practically started his swimming career when he moved to sydney to train with Brant Best in early 2010 when he just turned 18.

4 years 4 months ago

DDias, here’s Magnussen historical times:

April 2008: 52.21 (16 yo) Age championships
April 2009: 50. 11 (17 yo) Age championships
April 2010: 49.44 (18 yo) Age championships
April 2010: 49.19 (18 yo) Telstra Grand prix
Aug 2010: 48.94 (19 yo) Pan Pacs
April 2011: 48.29 (19 yo) Australian Championships
July 2011: 47.49 (20 yo) Worlds
Mar 2011: 47.10 (20 yo) Australian trials.

4 years 4 months ago

Thanks!I will put along in my archive to compare with Cielo,Chieriguini and Santana improvement.

Advice about Rankings:
Dont trust too much in swimnews ranking.Sometimes they dont put all the times(and some Federations dont send ALL the data).
Example: Marcelo Chieriguini opened Pinheiros 4×50 free relay in 22.0, but they dont updated the 50 free ranking with his time ranking(CBDA probably just send general data about relay time).

4 years 4 months ago

@Braden: Not a great example, she hasn’t been swimming for as long or on the same level as these guys.

@aswimfan: I doubt Magnussen is cheating. However, it’s worth noting that dropping time gets harder not only the older you get, but the faster you swim, what with resistance going up roughly proportional to the cube of velocity and all. A 1% drop in time requires over 3% improvement in power and a 3% drop around 10%, assuming that the increased power doesn’t come with increased muscle mass/bulk (unlikely).

Phelps Fan
4 years 4 months ago

I did not say he is doping. I was trying to say he is a perfect example of someone with a Huge spike in perfomance. in 2010 his best time was 48.94 at the pan pacs in 2011 his best time in the 100 dropped by 1.5 secs to 47.5. So to put it in perspective in a year an a half his 100 has droped by almost 2 secs!!! this is the 100 free we are talking about.
Here is some data for you.

Before 2009 he did not make top 150 ranking in either the 50 or 100 free.

Age 19, year 2010
50 22.75 ranking 69
100 48.94 (Pan Pacs 2010) ranking 27

Age 20 2011
50 22.45 ranking 51
100 47.49 ranking 1

Age 21, year 2012
50 21.74 ranking 3
100 47.10 ranking 1

4 years 4 months ago

You conveniently chose to leave out that Magnussen swam 49.43 in March 2010.
Actually, Magnussen’s rapid improvement curve is consistent. There’s no spike in the last 3 years, it has been consistent rapid rise.

It seems you just don’t know what “spike” means in swimming when related to doping suspicion.
A spike (related to doping suspicion) if a swimmer is stagnant for years, and is not that young anymore, and then suddenly goes a lot faster. Example: Michelle Smith De Bruijn, Amy Van Dyken, etc.

If Magnussen had already been 26 year old like Marco Di Carli who suddenly went 48.21 last year while not even in the top 150 in 2010 even when he was swimming and training, you are right voice your suspicion.

Do you know why he was not in the top 150 before 2009?
That was because he was 17 still in high school and he was not even training swimming intensively as he was still playing rugby mostly, and he lived in Port Macquarie.
Only in 2010 he moved to Sydney and trained full time under Brant Best, the high performance coach at SOPAC (Sydney Olympics Park Aquatic Centre).

Saying that Magnussen’s rise from 2009 to 2012 suspicious is like saying that Phelps’ rise in 200 IM from outside 150 in 1999 to #77 in 2000 to #4 in 2001 to #1 in 2002 must have been caused by drugs.

I don’t know if I take you seriously, as you might be a troll, but anyone who knows elite swimming or serious fan would not have made statement as you did.

4 years 3 months ago

Are you trying to tell me Jesus Christ can’t hit a curve ball?!

bobo gigi
4 years 4 months ago

Great job Garrett. And good answers from Bob. We feel he has less pressure than in 2008. And I think he isn’t the only to be nostalgic. Swimming wasn’t the same before Michael and will not be the same after Michael. We must enjoy his last races.

4 years 4 months ago

As usual… Grand Slam Garrett knocks it out of the park! Great Job! Also, thanks to Coach Bowman for giving not only some insights but putting out some info that other coaches and athletes can utilize and learn from. SWIMSWAM Rocks!

bobo gigi
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t know what I have to do with these comments about every girl in the world. It’s strange. You are all completely crazy.
Back to swimming. Yes I follow Garrett for a few years and he’s one of the best for the interviews and the broadcasts. But I have nothing against Rowdy Gaines except when he talks about the 7 or 8 medals of Missy Franklin. But he knows swimming much better than most of the viewers and he loves his sport.


About Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the sport as a journalist, now coaches club swimming and competes as a masters swimmer, Garrett truly lives the sport of swimming. After graduating from University of Missouri’s award winning journalism program …

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