Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The coach behind Michael Phelps

Ever heard of Bob Bowman? He's been coaching Michael Phelps for 12 years, since Phelps was 11.

Here's how a recent Baltimore Sun article about Bowman described him:

Bowman studied classical music composition and swam at Florida State, but ultimately majored in child psychology. His office is filled with biographies of great coaches like Vince Lombardi and Bobby Knight, John Wooden and Bill Walsh. Ask him what piece of classical music best describes him, and he cites Prokofiev's 3rd Piano concerto.

"Prokofiev is a lot like me," Bowman says. "It has structure that is very clearly defined. It has a melodic element, it has an element of tone in it, and it has a percussion element. It also has what they would call a sardonic or sarcastic element."

According to the story, Bowman and Phelps often get into screaming matches. Other times, they laugh together. Says the 43-year-old Bowman, "We have a more complicated relationship."

The author writes:

By this stage, the two men have almost a symbiotic relationship when it comes to the pool. Bowman can nod or raise his eyebrows and Phelps will know exactly what he's thinking. They've been around the world together, shared thousands of meals together and taken on all comers.