What Will The Chain Reaction Be From Bowman’s Bombshell?

Bob Bowman barely had time to dry off from his victory swim at the Men’s NCAA Championships before inking a new deal that sent shockwaves throughout the swimming community.

On April Fools’ Day no less, it was announced that Bowman will be the new Director of Swimming and the men’s head coach at the University of Texas, the news coming less than 48 hours after the 58-year-old completed a nine-year journey to the NCAA title at Arizona State.

Bowman’s departure from Arizona State is in many ways stunning, given the roots he’s laid down in Tempe from building the college team into a national champion, developing Leon Marchand into the best male swimmer on the planet, and the stable of pros who have made the move to Tempe to train under him.

In addition to that, Bowman appeared content in Tempe for reasons outside the pool—Michael Phelps trained with Bowman at ASU in his last hurrah in 2015 and 2016, and Phelps has lived in the area ever since. Bowman is regarded as “grandpa” to Phelps’ children.

But if anyone knows Bowman, he seeks challenges. And with the job done at Arizona State, and the opportunity to take over the most prestigious job in college swimming presenting itself, he couldn’t say no.

But the ripple effect will be seismic. This doesn’t set off as big of a chain-reaction as it could’ve due to who ASU has as a replacement head coach, but there are still so many moving parts involved here.

So what will the reaction be to Bowman’s move?

THE COACHES

Shortly after the bombshell Bowman announcement, Arizona State started the next chapter of its program by appointing Herbie Behm as its new head coach.

Behm becoming the head coach of a top-tier program was inevitable.

The former associate head coach who has been at ASU since 2018, Behm was in the running for the lead job at Michigan, and if Bowman stayed at ASU, it seemed as though Behm would eventually move on when the right opportunity presented itself despite the fixture of swimmers he’s developed in Tempe.

The Sun Devils currently list five assistant coaches on their swim & dive staff: Derek SchmittLogan HirkaAlex ShermanAustin Pillado and Sam Iida.

During Bowman’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, he spoke of his new Director of Swimming role as allowing him to oversee a wide net of coaches who specialize in various disciplines. That’s something he was implementing at ASU, and Behm will likely strive to foster a similar environment.

Will any of those assistant coaches follow Bowman? Hirka has been on staff since Bowman’s arrival in 2015, and Bowman spoke highly of him when he was promoted from volunteer to full-time assistant coach in 2019. He would be the top candidate among the group.

And what about the Texas coaches? Bowman said he’s looking forward to working with Longhorn diving coach Matt Scoggin, who he’s familiar with, but Wyatt Collins is in a different position.

Often regarded as the potential successor of Eddie Reese, Collins has been at Texas since 2014. He was promoted to assistant coach after Kris Kubik retired in 2016, and was named associate head coach in 2021.

The expectation is that Collins is heading elsewhere, especially after Carson Foster essentially said his goodbyes to both Reese and Collins in an Instagram story on Monday, adding that he’s looking forward to working with Bowman.

Collins will likely be a highly sought after commodity in the offseason coaching carousel.

Legendary Texas alums such as Brendan Hansen or Ian Crocker could end up on staff as well to keep the Texas blood in the mix as Bowman expands his coaching staff.

THE NCAA SWIMMERS

As reported by Hungarian media, Hubert Kos said that both he and Marchand will continue to train with Bowman through the Olympic Games.

That comes as no surprise, and there will likely be other college swimmers who do the same. But the questions about next season loom large.

Marchand will remain under Bowman (Carson Foster said he’s looking forward to having his rival become his training partner), and likely the same for Kos. Will Marchand continue his collegiate career at Texas? Now that he’s achieved his final goal of winning a team title, it would be much more prudent for him to turn pro and cash in on his home Olympics this summer, and he can work to conclude his degree while swimming as a pro (which seems to be a priority for him).

Marchand only has one season of eligibility remaining, while Kos has two. Kos might feel he has more to accomplish in NCAA swimming, but as a reigning long course world champion, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go pro either.

Among the other members of the championship-winning team, who else follows Bowman?

The fly and medley specialists come to the forefront: Ilya Kharun is a big one, as is Owen McDonaldZalan Sarkany? Maybe, especially if his Hungarian countryman Kos is going.

Most of the sprinters, led by Jonny Kulow, will stay as they primarily trained under Behm. Kulow reposted Behm’s promotion on his Instagram story Monday.

As for the others, it remains to be seen. Some of the underclassmen still developing will have committed with training under Bowman as the #1 reason for heading to ASU, so we expect several transfers to come.

The same could be said for the women’s team. Senior Lindsay Looney, a 200 fly specialist, will likely be joining Bowman in the lead-up to Trials and into next year if she opts to continue swimming as a pro.

THE PRO SWIMMERS

The pro group in Tempe has consistently grown and become one of the hotbeds of elite swimming in the United States.

Swimmers we’d expect to follow Bowman would be Regan SmithChase KaliszJay Litherland and Luca Urlando.

Smith and Urlando could end up exercising their remaining college eligibility at Texas after the Olympics. It’s also possible that Kalisz, Litherland or both retire post-Paris.

The sprinting regime of Ryan HeldSimone ManuelOlivia Smoligaand Taylor Ruck are expected to stay with Behm (or retire post-Olympics), while distance freestyler Paige Madden is more of an unknown (another retirement possibility).

Drew Kibler is a 100/200 freestyler, so would spend some time with the sprint group, but is also a Texas alum and could opt to return to Austin to reunite with some former teammates.

The Texas pro group is already strong, led by Foster and Shaine Casas, and it’s a bound to gain some serious punching power.

THE RECRUITS

Texas has a loaded incoming class for Bowman’s first season, with four top-20 ranked recruits in the boys’ high school class of 2024.

Leading the charge is #3 Cooper Lucas, who looks like a swimmer tailor-made for Bowman as the class’ fastest in the 500 free and 400 IM to go along with being elite in the 100 fly, 200 fly and 200 IM.

They’ve also got #10 Kyle Peck (back/fly), #18 Jeremy Kelly (rangy freestyler) and #19 Landon D’Ariano (medley/200 fly) to help give Bowman a nice launching pad to go along with rising sophomores Nate Germonprez and Will Modglin.

Arizona State only has one top-20 recruit in the class, #16 Tolu Young, who’s a sprint freestyler, so he’ll be staying with Behm by all accounts.

Neither school has a top recruit in the class of 2025, though the noise surrounding generational talents Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson, both committed to Virginia, jumping ship to Texas has already started (Williamson being a Texas native).

Decisions can change on a dime, but both swimmers have made Virginia-related posts on Instagram since the announcement, reaffirming their commitments.

Come the 2026 class, head up by a Bowman-esque swimmer in Baylor Stanton, Texas is the frontrunner to come away with the top-ranked group.

NEW CONFERENCES

Both Arizona State and Texas will join new conferences next season, an interesting subplot to the start of the Bowman era in Austin and the Behm era in Tempe.

It’s unfortunate that ASU will join the Big 12 as Texas departs, as the rivalry between the two teams would’ve been salivating.

With the Longhorns on the way out, the Sun Devils will come in and take over as the best team in the conference by a landslide.

For Texas, they’ll join the powerful SEC conference which has been dominated in recent years, especially on the men’s side, by Florida.

In a way, it’s fitting for both teams to start new chapters of their conference history while also seeing a change at the top of the coaching staff, and Bowman will surely relish the opportunity to turn the page at Texas and start the SEC era off with a bang.

MICHAEL PHELPS?

Phelps and his family seem more than happy in their life in Tempe, but one has to wonder if there’s some appetite for him join Bowman in some capacity in Austin.

In addition to having Bowman remain close with his kids, you have to imagine Texas would be willing to throw a blank check at Phelps to be on staff if only as a figurehead as a recruiting tool.

The lifestyle, golf and the rest, might be similar enough to Tempe that it’s something Phelps would consider.

WHAT THE MAN HAS TO SAY

After a whirlwind 120 hours, from the start of the NCAA Championships to Monday’s announcement, Bowman spoke to the media on Tuesday in Texas.

You can watch it below:

In This Story

121
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

121 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
YGBSM
11 days ago

Did I hear this correctly (from Bob himself in this press conference) that he’s going to be allowed to coach his pros at Tempe through Trials? How is THAT pool deck going to feel for the next two months?

And maybe it’s just fine. Maybe he didn’t break bad with coaches / athletes / anyone. But still could be really awkward at Mona Plummer.

Steve Friederang
12 days ago

You might want to remember a redshirt I get to work with at times here in California. David Johnston still has two years of eligibility. I can speak to the changes we have been making in his strokes and to the surprise on some people’s faces when he was first in the 400 I.M. in the prelims at the recent world champs. I’ll let him give his opinion; he’ll be in my office and SwmGym tomorrow along with two-time Olympian Marwan ElKamash. We might have time to interview him after our collaboration in neuroplasticity, etc. But, I will remind anyone who has seen David win races about the Texas horns he raises in celebration, even at world champs! He has… Read more »

Daaaave
Reply to  Steve Friederang
12 days ago

My ranking of phrases in this post from least to most LOLs:

five: Looze and I are going to discuss the NCAA meet event by event
four: forgot to have a lap counter
three: our collaboration in neuroplasticity, etc. (the “etc.” almost gets this to no. 2)
two: David already misses Eddie (because when I first read this for some reason I thought he meant Durden)
and coming in at no. one: I had sent Eddie a plan for Luke to break 4 in the 500

MarkB
Reply to  Steve Friederang
12 days ago

Wow! I had a whole post ready in my head but then I saw Daaave’s and I couldn’t improve upon that GEM so I’ll just repeat Wow!

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  Steve Friederang
11 days ago

🤡

txswammer
Reply to  Steve Friederang
11 days ago

Since when is Ray Looze under appreciated(?)

I can’t believe eddie didn’t follow the plan for Hobson to break 4:00 in the 500. What a missed opportunity for both of them.

YGBSM
12 days ago

Goodness gracious. Did the AD decide to create a “Carol” word drinking game?

To the AD:

Dude, we get it. You’re trying to sell us on the notion that Carol is good with the idea of Bob as Boss (cleverly shrouded in the idea of a combined program). Sooooo she’s staying for now. Okay, got it. But the 37 times you mentioned her by name didn’t help convince anyone. In fact, it looked troubling.

waitwhat
Reply to  YGBSM
12 days ago

There are times when Del Conte gives me serious used car salesman vibes. The big money donors probably eat it up.

Last edited 12 days ago by waitwhat
TexasLonghorn Alum
Reply to  waitwhat
11 days ago

When Eddie’s retirement was announced, I contacted Chris Del Conte to offer my thoughts. His staff responded by scheduling a meeting, which greatly surprised me. At our meeting, he first listened for a long time and then spent almost an hour offering his thoughts on how he can best maintain Texas’ swimming tradition. His ideas were novel, impressive and I was sincerely shocked at how much thought and caring he has put into doing what’s best for Texas swimming. He genuinely cares about maintaining the 40+ year legacy that Eddie Reece has created at Texas.
Finally, and most importantly to some, I had never donated a penny to Texas when he met with me. This man really does care… Read more »

Texan
Reply to  TexasLonghorn Alum
11 days ago

CDC was the drive behind finally getting the outdoor pool done. He couldn’t believe it had been promised to Ed 35 years earlier and not gotten done. It was embarrassing. He got it done.

Diehard
12 days ago

Texas under Eddie were known for being All American (almost) which is in contrast to Bob’s big guns at ASU being International! I wonder what direction the men go now?

This Guy
Reply to  Diehard
12 days ago

You wonder? He will go after the best swimmers regardless of where they are from

thezwimmer
Reply to  This Guy
12 days ago

Yes but why spend almost or all of 1 scholarship to get an international stud when you could get 2-3 domestic studs for the same price?

Swimmer
Reply to  thezwimmer
12 days ago

Get use to it Texas Bob be liking Internationals

Diehard
Reply to  Swimmer
11 days ago

Just saying that most of Texas male Olympians have been Americans. Bowman has zeros USA/ASU Olympians! I thought that was important to UT and it should be!

Last edited 11 days ago by Diehard
Texan
Reply to  Diehard
11 days ago

Eddie was able to recruit the best in the US and win, but he also had some notable foreign swimmers. Joe Schooling comes to mind. Believe other countries on his rosters have included Scotland and Israel. Mexico also. And he had American swimmers who represented other countries in international competition. Ed didn’t recruit internationally but also didn’t turn away someone who came knocking on the door.

Bob has coached a number of US Olympians over time. I can think of a few coaches who won with foreign swimmers and went on to become the US National Team coach and / or Olympic team coaches. Now that Bob has won a title and has Texas resources, I wouldn’t be surprised to… Read more »

Stewart Fenwick
12 days ago

Marchand already has multi years Louis Vuitton contract and they are ramping up Olympics promotion starring Marchand among others.

Is this allowed under NIL?

Admin
Reply to  Stewart Fenwick
12 days ago

If executed properly: yes.

NIL/NCAA rules aren’t the hang up. It’s the visa laws, and that’s still a bit murky.

As long as he only works when he’s outside of the US it’s for sure allowed.

Ranger Coach
12 days ago

Smoliga and Litherland are dating, which does raise an interesting question on where they go.

I think I also saw somewhere that Texas requires 60+ credits to be done inhouse in order to get a degree from them, which would make it harder for Marchand to transfer since he only has one year left. Kos and the others would be in a better position.

I see Madden either going with Bowman or going back to UVA to swim with that emerging pro group (I’m assuming Douglass, the Walshes, Nocentini, and Curzan stay there; I don’t think Donahoe, Harter, or Nelson will turn pro, although Harter does have Pan Pac experience and Nelson could make a decent pro). I… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Ranger Coach
12 days ago

As to your first paragraph, IDK I would bet one or both will be done after Paris.

Ranger Coach
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

I think it depends on what they do in Paris. Litherland, I could see being done, but if Smoliga qualifies for a couple events and comes away with a couple medals, I could see her staying for a couple more years. She is 29, but the draw of a home Olympics in 2028 might be enough to try to hang on.

Diehard
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

Until Trials not that much time to be separated since they are both at asu for about 3 more weeks. After Trials, they can decide about what is next? I would imagine Jay retires, Smog’s?

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Diehard
12 days ago

I have a hard time envisioning either qualifying.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Ranger Coach
12 days ago

Olivia Smoliga has been well off the pace in W 100 FR this year and Catie DeLoof has looked better. In addition, Olivia and Catie have to fear the “bolt from from the blue” in the competition for the W 4 x 100 FR-R which incidentally has struck three years in a row for the W 4 x 200 FR-R:

2021 – Sims
2022 – Weinstein
2023 – Shackell

This Guy
Reply to  Ranger Coach
12 days ago

Did a little looking, yes Texas requires at least two years in order to graduate and some degrees mandating a minimum of three years.

However! You don’t think the football team has figured out a way to make it work? As with getting certain athletes with poor grades admitted, the athletic department has an extreme amount of pull within all areas of the school. They will find a way

Ranger Coach
Reply to  This Guy
12 days ago

I think the football team is a bit different than the swim team. Football teams (and basketball teams to an extent) get away with more than other teams. A few schools might let their lacrosse teams (UVA, Duke, UNC, Maryland, Rutgers) get away with more, but football typically has one set of rules and everyone else has a different set, although if Olympic medals are involved (and a massive deal with Louis Vuitton), it might be different.

Last edited 12 days ago by Ranger Coach
Swammer
Reply to  This Guy
7 days ago

Maybe it can be possible that he lives and train in Austin as a pro, studies from there and just fly in t0 take exams. Or does he need to be enlisted on the Swim team? I would guess after cashing in on the Olympics he can pay for the last year of School with no problem, and don’t be enrolled as a student athlete?

Last edited 7 days ago by Swammer
joannietheswimmer
12 days ago

This was telling. “Arizona State only has one top-20 recruit in the class,” Think the move was in the plans long before.

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  joannietheswimmer
12 days ago

I bet Bowman had already charted the path to Austin when he took over ASU

Bob is extremely strategic (witness his year ahead extremely detailed preparations for Beijing and forcing Paris organizers to change the schedule for the benefit of his swimmers) and is playing 4D chess.

Chlorinetherapy
12 days ago

This still only makes silver medal ranking in the history of shocking Bob Bowman news.

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  Chlorinetherapy
12 days ago

Which one is the gold medal?

MarkB
Reply to  Stewart Fenwick
12 days ago

Texts.

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  MarkB
11 days ago

I forgot that Bob Bowman wanted Caroline Burckle’s brother Clark Burckle 😱😱😱😱😱

Last edited 11 days ago by Stewart Fenwick
Diehard
Reply to  Stewart Fenwick
11 days ago

I wonder if the AD did his homework or just doesn’t care?!

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Chlorinetherapy
12 days ago

This doesn’t come close to Nick Saban leaving the Miami Dolphins for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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 …

Read More »