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Bob Bowman – a coach in demand

August 11, 2013
Bob Bowman

Bob Bowman

In the framework of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2013 in Berlin, we have met the world-leading coach Bob Bowman. We asked him some questions about Berlin, Michael Phelps, Yannick Agnel and his life as a coach.

Bob Bowman already knows Berlin from some World Cup events, but he has never been here during sunny weather. So he really likes the city and the event here.

Bowman has the reputation of being a tough and strict coach, but he admits that he is getting wiser as he gets older. So he still wants to get the same results, but maybe with a little bit more mercy.

The question how he recognized his talent as a coach makes him laugh: “I never really realized it. One summer I needed a job and I really enjoyed being a coach. But I think during my career I have made every mistake a coach could make. But I am always questioning myself and try to improve and change something.

Bob Bowman has trained and accompanied Michael Phelps since his early days of childhood. They are still friends, even if they don’t see each other a lot. If Michael would start a comeback, Bowman would suggest him to swim shorter disciplines and maybe focus on the individual medley.

Of course Bowman gets a lot of applications of international athletes who want to join his team. He has three main criteria to pick his athletes. First he has to be sure that a swimmer really wants to work hard and is able to get through his challenging programs. Secondly the attitude is important, because no one becomes successful if he is not willing to. Thirdly they have to be good enough, because only athletes who are internationally competitive can join his team.

Yannick Agnel has just recently joined Bowman’s training team. “I think Yannick is not a multilayered athlete like Michael Phelps, because internationally he should more focus on the freestyle events. But I have not seen so much yet, that I can really value that.”

He also mentions that as a coach you must be capable to train athletes of all disciplines and distances. “Normally an athlete does what you ask him to do. So as a good coach you have to ask him the right things.”


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