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Bowman To Lend A Hand With Britain Review

Sep 11, 2012  - Craig Lord

Bob Bowman, mentor to the greatest Olympian, Michael Phelps, will be joining Britain's London 2012 Performance Debrief panel, the national federation has announced.

Bowman, a man who credited former British performance director Bill Sweetenham when he revealed some of the tactics he used to hone Phelps into the great he became, brings a much-needed wealth of experience to the British table.

In a statement, British Swimming noted: As a consultant for the Sport Performance division of TSE Consulting, he is expected to share his expertise and best practice advice with the panel made up of Conor O’Shea [Rugby], Thomas Lurz [open water], Craig Hunter [official and British Swimming board member] and Michael Scott [performance director].

David Sparkes, CEO of British Swimming said: “Bob is a coach with a wealth of experience and a proven track record of turning talent and hard work into medal success. We are sure he will make a massive contribution to our review.”

The  trick now is for British Swimming to tweak its ways: when calling in experts it has sometimes chosen to water down the full extent of the message delivered, or at best done what some have referred to as "adapting the message to what suits Britain". The need for progress requires Britain to adapt to what it needs to do to compete with the best when the heat is on.

Sparkes, at the helm of the federation since Britain started to feed lottery funding to sport in the wake of just one gold medal across all sports at Atlanta 1996, oversaw five Olympic sports at London 2012 that produced just four medals, three in the pool and one off the boards.

The federation he leads concluded: The Debrief Panel has been set up to consider the performance results at the 2012 Games, to determine the reasons for a below medal target performance and identify areas for improvement in preparation for Rio 2016. 

The news on Bowman is the first since his appointment to TSE was announced this week and tweeted to the world by Phelps. The American - named ASCA coach of the year last week after Phelps became the most decorated athlete at London 2012 and all time and after having guided Allison Schmitt to one of the performances of the Games (three gold, a silver and a bronze) - is spending a year off the deck in the wake of Phelps' retirement but intends to be hands on with a focus on swimming. 

TSE is headed by Steve Roush, former chief of sports performance for the US Olympic Committee.  Bowman said that he hoped to "make a positive contribution to the development of swimming worldwide" when his new role was announced.