Michael Phelps, Why He Wins, His Pro Team
Michael Phelps swam to a 3:38 win in the 400 yard individual medley at the Southern, California Grand Prix, barely a fingernail slower than his swim back in 2008, back when he wore a full body-suit, 100% polyurethane, so pure and slippery. Last night in Long Beach, Phelps wore a jammer made of fabric. His hairy limbs and chest were exposed to the water. For the uninitiated, that's like racing in a sweater. By my calculations, Phelps should be swimming five to six seconds slower.
When FINA (swimming's international governing body) announced their ban on the hi-tech body-suits, August of 2009, Phelps immediately and "emotionally" shifted to the jammer-suit. He was already mapping out his use of the "old school technology" over his 12 to 36 month training regiment.
Other swimmers, many other swimmers, still raced in the hi-tech body-suits last fall. Many tried to snag world records, shooting for times that could stand for the historic long haul. Meanwhile, Phelps slogged through the late autumn, wearing a jammer, testing his speed at the World Cup. In some swims he didn't even make it into the final heats. He lost by a long-shot.
Phelps' 3:38 win in the 400 yard individual medley marks his true and simple genius; prepare, prepare, prepare, and prepare early, long before your rivalries.
It appears Phelps has almost over-prepared for the technology-shift in suits. His 3:38 time heralds a huge base of training that is frighteningly dangerous.
PHELPS' PRO TEAM: BOB BOWMAN & PETER CARLISLE
Bob Bowman, Phelps' life-long coach, is the man behind swimming's icon. Bob has been like a father to Phelps, protecting him during hard times. Phelps never waivers when the media critiques his career, in or out of the pool. Bob is largely the reason. His quiet confidence has empowered Phelps to always maintain his cool.
Peter Carlisle, Bates Alum ('91), and Phelps' sports manager, is another pillar of unspoken power. Peter's not your normal sports manager. He's slow to react, thoughtful...even kind. Talking to him you get the real sense that he's not after a pile of money. He's more concerned with developing stability for his athlete-clients.
Watch Peter in this video and judge for yourself.