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Mentally and physically exhausted from his record-breaking eight-for-eight gold-medal sweep, Phelps went AWOL on Bowman for a time.He skipped out on practice in favor of the golf course or trips to Las Vegas with his friends.Not that we didn't get good things out of it before, but when you're than hyperfocused, it's tough.You look back and it's over." Soon, it actually will be: Phelps insists he is retiring after the London Games, and while there are those who hope he'll change his mind, Bowman isn't one of them.enjoy the last year, and we've been able to do that." Those fireworks have been epic at times — we're talking screaming matches on the pool deck — but when you see them now, it's hard to imagine such scenes.For one thing, as Phelps has grown into adulthood, they are more collaborators and partners than coach and swimmer.
Still, if you're largely known for what you've accomplished in the world of swimming, having shepherded the swimming career of Michael Phelps is not a bad first line on a resume.They are approaching their fourth and final Olympics together with goals to which no one else is privy, whether it's a medal count or a certain time for each race.What Bowman will say, though, is that his goal for both of them is that after all the years focused on training, races and medals, they also enjoy the fruits of their shared labor.And in fact, while the shorthand way of referring to Bowman is as Phelps' swim coach, that doesn't really capture the scope of his role, in the pool or beyond.He is a father figure, a friend, a business partner, an adviser, a spokesman, even a bit of a bodyguard.