Legendary Bolles Class Continues Success in College

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 MurphySanto CondorelliJosh 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.


The four Bolles swimmers who competed at the 2015 Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships Courtesy: Jason Calanog


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9 years ago

These boys are special; not just in their swimming but in their “team first” attitude. Having had the privilege of being part of the Bolles family for may years, I believe what sets us apart is that our swimmers learn that they can accomplish so much more as part of a team and through the energy they get from their team. For most swimmers the true concept of team only begins in college….not at Bolles where it begins the moment they step on the pool deck. We aren’t just a team, we are a family.
This last weeknd we were full of pride for these boys, but at the same time our family is suffering at the loss of… Read more »

9 years ago

Indeed a special group of young man.

Ryan Murphy is simple the strongest NCAA swimmer! His shoulders are huge. His backstroke technique is not the best among peers (his head is way upright and he fights water), but his kung-fu backstroke is unbeatable right now.

I also loved Santo’s “reckless” swimming – fast and strong. Also loved his huge smile when he was first in line of USC swimmer congratulating Texas swimmers on the trophy. His smile is infectious.

Dressel swims sprint right way – kayak style – but I could not understand his poor swims in some races.

And Schooling, great young man and great competitor. His first kick (and his drive to win) is what won him 100/200… Read more »

CT Swim Fan
9 years ago

Really quite an extraordinary group. One question, is that a real tattoo on Dressel’s left shoulder?

Reply to  CT Swim Fan
9 years ago


Sergio Lopez Miro
9 years ago

Thank you SwimSwam for the nice article. I can only say that We (#BollesFamily) are very proud of our swimmers, coaches and program. Coach Troy started a great legacy and we did the best we could to keep moving forward. From day one since I arrived to Bolles the coaching staff embraced the concept of developing the best swimmer/athlete physically and mentally for the next coach to take him/her to the next level. During my almost eight years at Bolles we placed over 210 swimmers in college (Div I, II, III) and in order to do that we had to believe in the process and the swimmers. Many coaches to name here but Coach Jon Sakovich, Coach Jason Calanog, Coach… Read more »

9 years ago

Caleb showed me something on Saturday. Florida was sitting near us and it was very clear he was not feeling from the start. What he went through on Saturday was pretty dang tough. He did what he had to do and gave it his best shot. I will remember that for future reference. That experience will help him and his team down the line. I was impressed with the Gators this weekend. Like all of the teams at the NCAA’s. Lots of adversity and yet so much to be proud of from that group.

Reply to  SwimSam
9 years ago

Swimsam, thank you so very much for saying this about the Florida Gators. They are a truly remarkable group of young men. I feel very privileged to have been in Iowa watching such a wonderful event surrounded by a loud, whistling crazy, friendly, appreciative mass of swimmer supporters.

Swimmer A
9 years ago

I think it’s pretty cool that all of the “mega swimmers” coming out of HS lived up to the hype this year. By “mega swimmers” I mean swimmers that could have won, or nearly win, NCAAs with their HS times- Murphy, Nolan, Conger, Dressel, Schooling.

I really believe that Nolan broke ground with his 2011 swims. I remember watching that 2IM and 1back and thinking, “he’s a once in a generation swimmer. We might not see this again for a while.” But Conger and the Bolles boys proved me wrong. And they are all part of this new wave of young swimmers that aren’t afraid to do what isn’t “supposed to be done.” HS swimmers aren’t supposed to go faster… Read more »

Reply to  Swimmer A
9 years ago

Speak for yourself, man. I was pretty surprised when Seliskar went 3:37 haha.

Reply to  sven
9 years ago

🙂 me too…

But really we shouldn’t be… he had already, months before this meet, shown us a 143ish backstroke, 143ish butterfly, 153ish breaststroke and a 134ish freestyle… duh. Of course he can go 337 in the 4IM.

My question is where does he take that race from here? It’s possible he may not swim it freshman year (Cal has Prenot and Green who should score and only (maybe) Hoppe in breast)… but when Prenot graduates I’d imagine he’ll slide in. But let’s say he swims it all 4 years… 333?

50/55/100/50 is a 335… and those a insane splits. Let’s say 49/55/59/49… is that even possible?

It’s crazy to think he’s so versatile that he may be a breaststroker… Read more »

Reply to  Hulk Swim
9 years ago

Hulk – you’re actually selling him short on what he had done months before (and, yes, I’m nit-picking) – but in December he was 1:41.3 in BOTH fly and back. And he had been 1:52.2 breast back in March 2014. I agree with your conclusion

Reply to  SwimGeek
9 years ago

I was too lazy to look it up but suspected they were quicker. thanks for looking it up 🙂 it just cements that he is a huge beast.

9 years ago

Thanks for the clarification Braden.

9 years ago

I believe Bolles was actually the first high school program to swim a sub 3 minute 400 free relay. They did it at the 1990 Eastern Interscholastic Meet held by Germantown Academy at Lasalle university. This record has stood as the meet and pool record since then and was tied by the Peddie School in 2013.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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