Since I made an issue out of Michael Phelps’ assumed absence from Tuesday’s memorial gathering for 14-year-old North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer Louis Lowenthal, I should note that my information on that score may have been incorrect.
Before posting, I had submitted redundant queries to Phelps through his foundation and NBAC, and they were not answered.
As for the evidence that Phelps did, indeed, pay his respects to Lowenthal at Gaucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium: An anonymous commenter at Tony Austin’s Southern California Aquatics blog wrote today, “The entire NBAC coaching staff was at the remembrance on Tuesday, including Coach Bowman as well as Michael Phelps and his mother. They all showed proper respect to the family and did NOT make a media spectacle by ensuring their presence was publicized.” See http://scaq.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-autopsy-report-on-louis-lowenthal.html.
(Austin’s criticism had focused on Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman. Mine had focused on Phelps himself.)
Curiously, the Baltimore Sun story on the Lowenthal event did not mention the presence of Phelps. But if Phelps was there, and his people simply chose not to respond to my messages, and the Sun reporter fell down in failing to note this important fact about a former NBAC athlete and the most famous figure in the sport — well, that would still be a far better thing than Phelps’ having skipped the event and even his politely acknowledging as much to me. For that would mean that he is not as callous as my Wednesday post portrayed him. When I get more information on this, I will publish it, and if a correction and apology are in order, I will make them.
Of course, none of this affects my call (and Austin’s) for a full accounting of the circumstances of the October 28 incident in which Lowenthal was reported to have been found at the bottom of the pool at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center — prompting the summoning of a lifeguard to perform CPR, too late to save young Lowenthal.
Nor are the basic questions of NBAC, Meadowbrook, and USA Swimming safety standards and transparency settled by the assurance by the same anonymous commenter that none of the rest of us need to be worrying our pretty little heads over what happened to Louis Lowenthal.