Over the last half-decade, the accomplishment of the Bolles School, between their high school and club programs, has been almost unparalleled at the junior level. Just a year after New Trier High School in Illinois became the first high school relay under three minutes, the Bolles group of Ryan Murphy, Santo Condorelli, Josh Booth, and Joseph Schooling blew the flood gates wide open with a 2:54.43.
Two years later, Schooling and Caeleb Dressel (who was a part of the Bolles club program, but attending Clay High School) traded shots back-and-forth by exchanging the 100 fly record back-and-forth, and Dressel did things in the sprint events that seemed unfathomable for a swimmer of that age by going under 19-seconds as a high school senior.
But the duty of a coach of high school seniors in the American system is two-fold: both to achieve great results at the junior level, and to prepare them for futures success at the senior level. As the page turns onto the college careers of this startling group of swimmers, their success has not dwindled, showing that the staff at Bolles (led by the now-departed Sergio Lopez, and Dressel’s primary coach Jason Calanog) were dutifully fulfilling their dual mandate.
Of the five swimmers mentioned above, four represented their respective universities at the 2015 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, and all four Bolles alumni at the meet won NCAA titles.
- Santo Condorelli, Soph, USC – 400 free relay
- Caeleb Dressel, Fresh, Florida – 50 free (17-18 National Age Group Record)
- Ryan Murphy, Soph, Cal – 200 back (American Record), 100 back (NCAA Record), 200 medley relay
- Joseph Schooling, Fresh, Texas – 400 medley relay (NCAA Record), 100 fly, 200 fly
For any club program, especially on the men’s side, to produce athletes who earn 8 national titles in a season where two are freshmen and two are sophomores is almost unfathomable. What’s even more staggering is that the four programs, at a high level, are all very differentin terms of training methodologies, cultures, and geographies. That shows that the swimmers that Bolles is producing aren’t simply reassembling at a ‘Bolles North’ program loaded with former Bolles coaches and largely the same training. Without bogging down the debate over who trains how these programs train or who has the best theories – because that’s beside the point – it shows that the swimmers coming out of the program are capable of adapting outside of the walls of their comfort zone and continuing to succeed.
A bar has been set for extrapolation, and a challenge has been laid for the women from the Carmel High School girls’ program out of Indiana – which is the female equivalent of the level of success that Bolles has had, only cycled about a year later. Women’s swimming is a little different, in that overall the athletes are more prepared to contend when they arrive on campus, but it’s not clear that even they will be able to match what the Bolles boys did in 2015.