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Swim coach Bob Bowman's focus on developing swimmers, not former protege Phelps

May 29, 2013 Updated: May 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm
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photo - Three-time gold medalist Allison Schmitt, pictured Tuesday, May 28, 2014,  has been practicing at the Olympic Training Center for the last two weeks with coach Bob Bowman in preparation for Nationals.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Three-time gold medalist Allison Schmitt, pictured Tuesday, May 28, 2014, has been practicing at the Olympic Training Center for the last two weeks with coach Bob Bowman in preparation for Nationals. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)  

It may not be an Olympic year, but U.S. swim coach Bob Bowman remains very busy developing athletes.

Bowman and 31 swimmers completed a two-week camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center pool in preparation for this weekend's final Grand Prix series stop in Santa Clara, Calif., and the national championships and world trials in Indianapolis, June 25-29. Bowman is the U.S. men's coach at the world championships July 19-Aug. 4 in Barcelona, Spain.

Bowman added more to his workload when he signed on as a consultant for Turkey's Olympic movement. He is working to set up a national development program to take advantage of a large younger population with access to pools and resources.

"It isn't so much working with individual swimmers as it is setting up a system," he said.

These past two weeks were about individuals and Bowman, the head coach and general manager of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

Many will use this spring's and summer's meets to work their way back into a world-class training regimen.

"Santa Clara is a going to be a good way to see where I am right now," said Allison Schmitt, who won London gold in the 200-yard freestyle and as part of the 400 medley and 800 freestyle relays.

This season gives younger swimmers or those who fell short of London a chance to move into contention for the 2016 Rio Summer Games.

One of those rising stars is Georgia sophomore Chase Kalisz, who won the NCAA title in the 400-yard individual medley (3 minutes, 38.05 seconds) as a freshman this spring. He was one of several Bulldogs in Colorado Springs this month, along with Shannon Vreeland, who won a gold medal with Schmitt in the 800 relay.

"Typically this year is usually when some young people step up and the Olympians to start getting back into form and the training cycle," Bowman said. "Chase won NCAAs so he is a strong candidate."

The camp helped the athletes focus on training 24/7 and improve the oxygen-retention levels in their blood through high-altitude training. Bowman usually hosts a group at the OTC about twice a season; three in Olympic years.

Swimming great Michael Phelps was not among the Colorado Springs group. A report that Phelps was considering coming out of retirement remains unsubstantiated.

"I haven't talked to Michael since March," said Bowman, Phelps' former coach. "If Michael is going to make an announcement he would do it. Until then there is no news."

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