Michael Phelps & Bob Bowman Enter ISHOF Together as Part of Loaded Class of 2023

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 23

March 15th, 2023 News

A star-studded group, arguably the best in history, has been announced for the Class of 2023 that will be inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in September.

The class is made up primarily of athletes who retired after the Rio 2016 Olympics. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, athletes must have been officially retired from competition for at least four years.

The class of 13 includes 6 Americans, plus two other swimmers who trained primarily in the United States during the elite part of their careers.

The list includes the most-accomplished swimmer in history, American Michael Phelps, who has won more Olympic medals than any athlete in history, in any sport, in any era (including the ancient Olympics).

A full listing of Phelps’ accomplishments could fill a book, but among them are 39 FINA World Records, more than any other swimmer in history, 26 long course World Championships, more than any other swimmer in history, and most gold medals at a single Olympics with 8. Phelps has accomplished so much that he currently holds 20 Guinness World Records, which itself is a record among athletes.

And that doesn’t even include his World Record for longest televised putt at 160 feet, which was recently broken by Ian Poulter.

Fittingly, Phelps will go in with his coach Bob Bowman. The pair rose through the ranks together from the age group level all the way to the Olympic Games. Bowman has coached other swimmers, though obviously none to the same level of success as Phelps. He is currently enjoying a run of success in the second phase of his career as a collegiate coach at Arizona State University, where among others he is coaching the defending World Champion in the 200 and 400 IMs Leon Marchand.

For coaches to be eligible, they “must have a significant international record and have been coaching at least 25 years.”

The class is so deep that a list of some of the true superstars of the sport don’t even get headlines.

American Missy Franklin, who won a record-setting 6 gold medals at the 2013 World Championships, is part of the class. She is a two-time FINA World Swimmer of the Year and also the owner of 5 Olympic gold medals.

Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima, who won 4 individual Olympic gold medals by sweeping the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, is also in the class. He was so influential that he literally changed the sport, leading FINA officials to add the controversial dolphin kick to the underwater pullout phase of the race.

Kitajima recently announced his return to racing – at the Masters level. His level of fame is so great in his native Japan that the Tokyo team of the International Swimming Leauge – the Frog Kings – was named after him.

Kirsty Coventry, who is responsible for 7 of Zimbabwe’s 8 all-time Olympic medals across all sports, will be inducted. So too will Cesar Cielo, who has held the 50 free World Record for more than 13 years and held the 100 free record for even longer until it was broken last year.

Paralympian Trischa Zorn, who USA Swimming has named its Disability Award after, is also in the class. She has a whopping 55 medals at the Paralympics, making her the most-decorated athlete in the history of those Games, won between 1980 and 2004.

The class doesn’t stop with the swimmers, either. Chinese diver Wu Minxia, a 5-time Olympic gold medalist and 7-time Olympic medalist overall in 3-meter springboard events, is part of the class as one of the most decorated divers in history.

Russian synchronized swimmer Natalie Ishchenko, a five-time Olympic Champion and 19-time World Champion, is part of the class as well. American water polo player Heather Petri, who is one of two women to win four Olympic medals in water polo – including gold at the 2012 Games. Both are the 35th honorees in their respective categories – the overwhelming majority of athletes in the Hall of Fame are swimmers.

Bowman is one of two coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023. The other is American synchro coach Chris Carver, who heads the Santa Clara Aquamaids program. While Russia has risen to become the dominant power in the sport, Carver was the co-head coach of the US National Team that won every gold medal available to the US in elite international competition between the 1991 Pan Am Games and the 1996 Olympic Games, including the first-ever team event gold medal at the 1996 Games, where the American earned the first perfect 100 point score in Olympic history.

7 of the 9 members of the 2000 US Olympic Synchro Team were part of Carver’s home clube, as were 8 of 9 members of the 2004 team. In total, she has produced more than half of the United States’ synchronized swimming Olympians since 1984, and once earned US Synchro’s Coach of the Year awards 14 consecutive times.

French open water swimmer Stephane Lecat, who won the 2000 European Championship in the 25k, was inducted in the open water category. He is the 15th French person, and first open water swimmer from France, inducted into the Hall of Fame.

South African Sam Ramsamy was inducted as an Honor Contributor for his role in transitioning South Africa back into global sport post-aparrtheid and leading the South African Olympic team into a racially-integrated squad.

Ramsamy, the former head of South Africa’s Olympic Committee, was first elected to the FINA Bureau in 1996 and has served as FINA’s first Vice President since May 2021, and before that as Second Vice-President from 2017-2021, and Vice President from 2004-2017.

2023 International Swimming Hall of Fame Class



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1 year ago

You mention Missy Franklin’s FINA World SOY awards, which raises questions–is FINA-World Aquatics even still doling out that award (haven’t seen any 2022 winners) and what’s the cash prize when/if I win it? I need the incentive.

1 year ago

If they had Aaron Peirson in there then it would be a serious contender team to break the 4×100 medley relay!!

1 year ago

Yuri Suguiyama should’ve taken lessons from Bob Bowman. He had on his hands the young talent of same uniqueness as Michael Phelps. He had a chance any coach is dreaming about. Didn’t realize it founding assistant coach position more attractive. So no ISHF and no international glory. Hope he is satisfied with his professional career and he doesn’t need all these noise about his name.

Chlorinated One
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Perhaps not everyone wants the exact path as Bowman. Yuri had an incredibly successful assistant coaching career at Cal and now has done great things at Wisconsin with both the men’s and women’s program. And to balance things out, he has a beautiful wife and two kids. Looks like success to me.

1 year ago

What was the seventh gold medal of Missy Franklin in Barcelona WC? I counted only six – three individual medals(100,200 BK, 200FR) and three relays?
And with that impressive number of medals she wasn’t recognized as the best female swimmer of this championships.
She probably owns the record of a swimmer with the shortest successful career who was inducted to ISHF: just three years 2011-2013.

Last edited 1 year ago by Yozhik
1 year ago

how was kitajima not already in lol

Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 year ago

Does Phelps deserve to be in The Hall of Fame? I think it’s an honest question up for debate 🤔

Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 year ago

Yeah. Is this a trolling question?

Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 year ago

can you elaborate why you feel it’s an honest question. Is this about his drug use?

1 year ago

I’m very sad to see Missy Franklin here.
Genuinely thought she’d dominate her events for a decade like Ledecky… And she definitely could’ve.
Well deserved though!

Reply to  Bud
1 year ago

I think she would’ve if she didn’t go to Cal under Mckeever. And I agree; well deserved, and I’m also happy to see her getting the recognition. It’s phenomenal what she was able to accomplish, even in what was (comparatively) a shorter career than some might have expected. And her energy and enthusiasm are one of a kind. The 2012 USA swimming music video is forever how I remember those Olympics.

1 year ago

Did anyone else watch that Missy Franklin movie with Kara Lynn Joyce when it first came out? I remember my swim team rented space in a movie theater. Awesome stuff as an age group swimmer.

Reply to  RealSlimThomas
1 year ago

Yes, I remember the movie. Be careful not to get caught between a microphone/camera and Missy Franklin at the ISHOF ceremony, as you might be in some serious danger.

Swim Fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Smart man. Even by today’s Tik-Tok and Instagram standards of narcissism (where Missy continues on with every one of her baby daughter’s burps and earaches), Missy and Kara’s movie was brutally unwatchable.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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