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Phelps’s former coach terms Hamdan Rashid complex as the best in the world; plans to help UAE swimmers with new projects
By a staff reporter February 20, 2013
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DUBAI: Swimmers in the UAE got a boost when the former coach of Olympic champion Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman, visited Dubai and promised to help budding youngsters.

Bowman exchanged ideas with the Dubai Sports Council and aid he looks forward to improve swimming in the UAE, specially in Dubai.

Bowman was awed by the impressive Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai.

Speaking to journalists at the DSC headquarters, Bowman said it was an honour for him to be in Dubai for the first time.

“I am incredibly impressed with the facilities (at the Hamdan Swimming Complex) which is a great place for athletes.

“The complex has world class facilities and the best venue in the world,” said Bowman who helped Phelps become the most decorated Olympian of all times with a record haul of 22 medals.

Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, the secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council, said they appreciated Bowman’s visit to the UAE and were pleased to welcome him at the DSC.

“We have exchanged ideas on how to improve the standards of swimming in the UAE, specially in Dubai. We hope that Bowman will provide support to the swimmers in the UAE become future stars,” said Sharif.

“We hope to have projects in the future in which Bowman will be associated with,” he added.

Bowman said it was too early to discuss any future projects. But said that Phelps would definitely come to Dubai once he and the Phelps Foundation gets started in the UAE.

Bowman said he would be involved personally with the future projects in the UAE and help in getting expertise to sort of centre of excellence. The facility has everything needed for success, the depth, the competition, training facilities, aquatic. All you need is the technical facility, and we will try to help in the technical side.

Bowman said the swimmers should start young as a four or five year olds, when asked how the UAE can provide future swimming stars.

Bowman said the difference between Phelps and the other swimmers was his ability to relax and focus under the pressure of the competitions. He was able to give his best performances at a critical time. As the pressure increased his performances also improved. He was able to mentally handle competitions better than anyone else, this is what separated him from others,” said Bowman.

Bowman was there with Phelps through all the gold medals, world records, championships and even the occasional mis steps the swimmer took in his life.

They forged one of the most unique relationships in all of sports. Bowman took the 11-year old Phelps under his mantle and nurtured him to greatness in the pool. They yelled screamed at each other along the way but also developed an enduring relationship that surely will last a lifetime.

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