Bob Bowman, who coached Michael Phelps through his record-breaking Olympic career, won a title himself Friday when he was named Coach of the Year by his professional association.
The American Swimming Coaches Association award, given at a banquet in Las Vegas Friday night, puts Bowman on track to break a record himself: It is his fifth time winning the annual award, voted on by fellow coaches, tying him with colleagues Mark Schubert and Eddie Reese.
"It's special since it's the last time I'll be working with Michael," Bowman said of Phelps, who retired from competitive swimming after the London Games. There, Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time, leaving the sport with 22 medals, 18 of them gold. Bowman's other star swimmer, Allison Schmitt, also had a breakout Olympics, coming in second to Phelps in number of medals won, five to his six.
Bowman, who with Phelps owns the North Baltimore Aquatic Club that turns out a steady stream of Olympians, is taking a year off from coaching. He credited the staff at the pool and training facility with helping him win the award.
"Really, awards like this are a team effort," he said, shared with "everyone at NBAC. It's not just me yelling at people."
Bowman previously won the title in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008. As for the prospect of surpassing the other five-time winners and joining Phelps in the most-decorated ranks, that would be fine with Bowman.
"Then they can't say," he said with a laugh, "that it was just all Michael's talent."