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2012 Swammy Awards, Club/High School Coach of the Year, Sergio Lopez

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)

Comments

  1. Roque Santos says:
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    One of the greatest coaches on the planet! Congratulations to the team, Bolles School, coaching staff and Senior Lopez! I am looking forward to see his teams in the next couple of years!

  2. coach t says:
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    congrats sergio, well deserved!

  3. morrow3 says:
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    Congratulations to Sergio, and as I am certain he would say, Congratulations to the entire Bolles School staff. One coach often gets the credit for the hard work of many. Not to say that Sergio hasn’t guided his program to the top with his vision and enthusiasm, but this goes to the swimmers and their families who bought into that vision and the coaches and support staff that work toward the goal.

  4. Mac says:
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    Congrats!

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    THANK YOU SwimSwam!

    It is an honor for me to be given this award but first I have to acknowledge and thank every single coach, swimmer, parent and the Bolles administration for everything they do to make us the team we are.

    I feel very blessed with the coaching staff that we have and have had here at Bolles since 2007. I guess as a head coach I get the accolades for the team doing well but Bolles would not have had the success we are having if it was not for the great job that each coach does day a day. I know as coaches we need to keep learning and getting better every day and I feel privileged to be able to work together with the coaching staff here at Bolles. Coach Jon Sakovich does an amazing job coaching his group and keeping me on my toes ;-), Coach Jason Calanog has brought our “Late Night Program” to another level, Coach Dale Porter is doing an amazing job with our Age Group Program building the future of Bolles. Together with the rest of our coaching staff (Steve Lazaraton, Michael, Walker, Payton Brooks, Julie O’Brien, Nancy Hennessy, Katy Steele, Jessica Schacht, Paige Hamilton and Ivan Tolic) we will keep working the best we can to keep challenging swimming to another level.

    Also I would like to mention Coach Christian Bahr (Ensworth HS & Nashville Aquatics), Coach Julia Warnken (SwimMac), Coach Martin Zubero (SPAC), Coach Mike Crabtree (no longer coaching) that are no longer with us, but each one of them played a role here at Bolles to help us reach this point.

    Thanks again for this honor and CONGRATS for everything you are doing to spread the swimming news and keep the swimming community informed.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone and I wish you the BEST IN EVERYTHING!

    Sincerely yours,

    Sergio ;-)

  6. Ben says:
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    lets get some sets on this site from this guy ^

  7. Jessi says:
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    It is an honor to coach under Sergio. Congrats Sergio and your family… YOU (ALL) DESERVE IT!

  8. love2swim says:
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    Impressive. And shows great character to thank the coaches that have left Bolles.
    I hope many USA Swimming coaches can learn from your great example.

    Great job!!!

  9. JJNEIDIGH says:
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    Congratulations, Sergio! Extremely well-deserved!
    The Bolles family continues to be proud of you
    and the coaching staff!! I know it’s great to have
    amazing coaches like Jon Sakovich and the others
    working to support you, the kids, and their parents.
    Thanks for everything! : )

  10. clark hamilton says:
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    Well deserved. Congratulations, Sergio.

  11. Keith says:
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    Congratulations and may your success continue!

  12. Katy says:
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    Thanks SWIMSWAM for recognizing Coach Sergio and the entire Bolles coaching staff!! We are so fortunate to have this swim program in Jacksonville, Florida. Sergio’s success has so much to do with building confidence in his swimmers. His daily motto, “Believe”, pushes swimmers physically daily in practice, and mentally prepares the swimmers for meets. Congrats to Sergio!!! We believe!

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    CONGRATULATIONS Sergio – So well deserving.
    Best wishes for 2013
    Nick
    Nick Gillingham MBE, FIOS

  14. Jason Zajonc says:
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    He is an awesome coach to say the least! I love getting quotes from him. He is a true leader on the deck and off. Congrat’s

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About Garrett McCaffrey

Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the... Read More »