Phelps plans involvement with Md. swim club

  • Associated Press | August 19, 2008

BALTIMORE -- Michael Phelps and his coach are pursuing involvement in the business operations of their home swim club and its facilities.

Phelps will be returning to Baltimore after winning gold medals in all eight of his swimming events -- a gold medal total unmatched in any Olympics. Once he's back, Phelps will resume business talks with North Baltimore Aquatic Club, said Murray Stephens, the organization's founder.

In an interview broadcast Monday, Phelps told NBC's "Nightly News" that he and coach Bob Bowman had developed business plans for their return to Baltimore. The two have spent four years in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Bowman served as head men's swimming coach at the University of Michigan.

"Bob and I are starting up a new business back in Baltimore with the pool that we just bought," Phelps said in the interview. "So we're going to make some adjustments and see what we can do to take that sport to the next level."

Those remarks were premature, said Stephens, who also owns the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, where NBAC swimmers train. The center is encouraging the negotiations, but nothing will be settled until Phelps and Bowman return from the Olympics, he said.

"Bob and Michael are going to become involved in the business opportunities of the swim team and its related businesses," Stephens said. "We want Bob and Michael to be involved in helping the swimming program grow. The what and how of these things have not been finalized at all."

Working out the details of any business agreement will take at least a couple of months, which Phelps may not have understood, Stephens said.

"He's 23 years old, and when he's thinking about something and he's had preliminary discussions about something, to him, basically, he did it," Stephens said. "But it's not done, and it's not even contracted, and it's not even decided."

Michigan announced in April that Bowman was leaving to become chief executive officer of NBAC.

When he takes over, Bowman will begin coaching "a group of post-grads like Michael" -- an endeavor the U.S. Olympic Committee may support as an Olympic development project, Stephens said.

Meanwhile, Stephens said he is considering expanding Meadowbrook's property holdings by purchasing an adjacent skating rink.

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On the Net:

Meadowbrook Aquatic Center: http://www.mbrook.com

North Baltimore Aquatic Club: http://www.nbac.net

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