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Olympians look to ASU as top training site

Swimmers, other athletes refined techniques in Tempe before heading to Rio


Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman

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August 04, 2016

There was no mistaking the hyper-attenuated form of Michael Phelps on the pool deck at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, but he was not the only Rio-bound Olympian on campus this past year.

Phelps, the greatest swimmer ever, helped to draw attention to Arizona State University as a perfect place to train for the Olympics, telling ASU Now in January: “I swam indoors my whole career. Once we moved here, that’s when it sunk in that I have a clearer head when I’m outside. Being able to see the sun every day is something that’s beneficial.”

Phelps — who has been chosen as the U.S. flag bearer for the opening ceremony — is in Rio de Janeiro now for his fifth Olympic games, where he will compete in the butterfly and 200 individual medley. Three of his U.S. swimming teammates also trained at ASU: Chase Kalisz, who will compete in the 400 individual medley, and Cierra Runge and Allison Schmitt, both in the 800 free relay.

Besides the great facilities, the swimmers came to ASU to work with Bob Bowman, the personal coach of Phelps who is the head coach for the Sun Devils and the U.S. Olympic swim team. Another ASU coach who drew an Olympian to train here is Cliff English, who heads the Sun Devils’ new triathlon program. He is the personal coach of Australian triathlete Ashleigh Gentle, who came to ASU in July to train for two weeks before heading down to Rio.

Morghan King

Weight lifter Morghan King trained at ASU before heading to Rio de Janeiro to represent the United States at the Olympics. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Morghan King, a member of the U.S. women’s weight-lifting team, is from Washington state but spent the past few months training with the weights every day in the Carson Student Athlete Center at ASU with her Phoenix-based coach.

“When you’re in a place that looks like this, it’s hard not to succeed,” King said.

Top photo: Swimmer Michael Phelps prepared to compete in his fifth Olympics by training at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center at ASU with his coach Bob Bowman, who is the head coach of the U.S. swim team.

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