Baltimore Insider

Debbie Phelps wears duct-tape flower in apparent honor of McDonogh swimmer

Over the course of Olympic competition in London, keen observers have noticed Michael Phelps' mother, Debbie, sporting a duct-tape flower.

The flower is in apparent honor of Alec John Cosgarea, a 17-year-old McDonogh School swimmer who died July 9 after he lost control of his Ford Fusion on Greenspring Avenue and hit a tree. He was driving back to his home in Owings Mills after competing at a North Baltimore Aquatic Club meet at Meadowbrook pool in Mount Washington.


Mr. Cosgarea was the 2012 state champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly, The Sun's Fred Rasmussen reported in Mr. Cosgarea's obituary. In addition to being a committed swimmer, Mr. Cosgarea had artistic talent, Fred reported:

As a middle school art student, he started making wallets out of duct tape, including a "hot pink duct tape jacket" that he wore to a friend's bar mitzvah, according to a McDonogh School profile.

Mr. Cosgarea, a member of McDonogh's Entrepreneurial Club, saw the business potential in his duct tape creations.

He established Duct Tape Outfitters LLC, which sells wallets, flowers, belts, ties, hats, purses, and Kindle cases, all made of duct tape. He donated 5 percent of his company's profits to Swim Across America, which raises money for cancer research.


The sight of Debbie Phelps wearing a duct-tape flower elicited appreciative tweets from some knowing observers in Maryland:

"In case you didn't notice the phelps family wearing Duct tape flowers In memory of a great friend Alec, check tonight #teamNBAC #Family"

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-- Connor Kalisz ‏@connorkalisz

"The Phelps family is wearing red white and blue duct tape flowers in honor of Alec #respect #RIP"

-- Danielle Kincaid ‏@DanielleKincaid

"Michael Phelps family wore duct tape flowers in honor of Alec John Cosgarea. Now the whole world has seen your work Alec #NBAC"

-- Jenny Schwartz ‏@JennySchwartz

"The Phelps family are great people for wearing the duct tape flowers to honor Alec. Seriously, that is such a great thing. #McDonoghForever"


-- Connor Morgan ‏@captain31morgan