The Award: Club/High School Coach of the Year
The Winner: Sergio Lopez of Bolles School.
The Why: It could be argued that other coaches deserve this one, but no one could argue that Sergio doesn’t. Bolles School Swimming had the best fall of any swim team in the country. His boys came together as one of the greatest high school teams ever setting 5 national high school records (100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 Medley relay, 200 Free Relay & 400 Free Relay) and 7 independent high school records (50 Free, 100 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay) en route to their 25th consecutive Florida High School Championship. Their girls won their 22nd consecutive state title. They followed that up with an amazing Junior Nationals in Tennessee where their boys won the meet and Bolles finished 2nd in the combined team scores. The boys set 4 meet records and 2 National Age Group records. In 2012 Bolles School set a total of 6 NAG records and sent 15 swimmers to the biggest US meet of the summer, Olympic Trials. At trials, 2 of his post-grad swimmers (Ariana Kukors and Charlie Houchin) qualified for the US Olympic Team. In London, Sergio was on the Singapore Olympic Coaching Staff for one of his international stand outs Joseph Schooling (broke National HS Record in the 100 yard fly this fall with a 46.50), and helped Brazilian Fabiola Molina make her 3rd Olympic Team. His accomplishments go well beyond his work with 18 & under swimmers, but this award is for his work as one of the best club/high school coaches in the country.
One of the primary goals for any 18 & under coach is for graduating seniors to have the opportunity to swim in college. This fall 10 Bolles swimmers commited to swim in college:
Santo Condorelli (University of Southern California ), Emiro Goossen (University of Florida ), Ryan Murphy (University of CaliforniaBerkeley), Brad Stamper (Indiana University, Bloomington ), Kourtney Gavin (Florida Southern College), Smacker Miles (University of Texas), Genevieve Miller (United States Air Force Academy), Ashley Neidigh (Auburn University), Chandler Soapes (University of Florida), Ali Talwar (Tulane University).
This list is even more impressive when you consider that those are only the early commitments. It is obvious that the Bolles team is loaded with some of the top 18 & under swimmers in the country but in 2012 one of Sergio’s swimmers stood out amongst the stacked stable of stallions in Jacksonville
The Super Star: Ryan Murphy has had an epic 2012. He set 3 NAG records this year, and even though one of those was already broken his name appears 13 time (9 short course, 4 long course) on the NAG record board. At the 2012 Olympic Trials, a meet dominated by men 5 to 10 years his senior, Murphy finished 4th in the 200 back (1:57.39) and 6th in the 100 back (NAG record, :53.76) as a 16 year old. At Senior Nationals in December, he broke the 17-18 100 yard back record with a :45.34, but Jack Conger lowered it a week later with a :45.32. He broke the 200 (1:38.15) yard backstrokes making him the first person under 18 to break 1:40.00. At the Florida High School Championships he lead off three relays that became the fastest in high school history: the 200 medley relay with a 21.09 backstroke (faster than any lead off at NCAAs in 2012), the 200 free relay in 19.54 (a National Independent High School record), and he added another NIHS record while leading off the third record breaking relay with 42.95 to get the 400 free relay on their way to swimming history. As one of three Sergio swimmers at the Short Course World Championships he captured a bronze medal in the 200 backtroke with a 1:48.86.
Murphy swims directly under Sergio, but not all of the top Bolles swimmers do. Jason Calong, Christian Bahr, and the entire staff at the Bolles facility make the team a powerhouse. As the leader of the team, Sergio has created an environment that swimmers of all levels are thriving in.
Check out these SwimSwam videos with Sergio Lopez:
Sergio earlier this fall.
Sergio at 2012 US Olympic Trials.
Follow Sergio Lopez on Twitter here (also the founder of Planet Swim, pursuing swimming excellence)