- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2008

BALTIMORE | Record-breaking Olympic medalist Michael Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman, have formed a partnership to operate the pool where the swimmer began training at age 7.

That partnership, Aquatic Ventures LLC, formally announced Friday that it is taking over at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which produced Phelps and six other Olympians over four decades.

“We’re just very excited to be home,” Bowman said. “This is our home.”

Bowman said he and Phelps will continue to balance the center’s offerings between recreational and competitive swimming. Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in August, will be busy with training once the new year begins, but he’ll be more involved in decisions as time goes on, Bowman said.

“One of the things we’re excited about is using Meadowbrook as a chance to expand our programs to swimmers of all varieties,” he said.

The first thing they want to do is get reacquainted with the people at the center, Bowman said, but they’ll also assess the facilities and programs and make some upgrades.

Bowman began coaching Phelps at the club when the future Olympian was 11. After the Athens Olympics in 2004, where Phelps won six gold medals, the swimmer followed Bowman to the University of Michigan, where he was head coach of the men’s swim team. Now they are returning to Baltimore together. Bowman will continue to coach Phelps and other swimmers in addition to his duties as chief executive officer.

The long-term lease and operation license agreement was signed this week. Bowman declined to disclose how much the deal was for.

“We will continue our mission to develop Olympic-level swimmers in concert with our community focus,” Phelps and Bowman said in a joint statement released Friday. “The scope of our program will always be greater than solely training competitive swimmers.”


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