Bolles Coach Sergio Lopez-Miro, who has been the head coach of the impressive club/high school combo program since 2007, has informed his team that he will be stepping down from that role to assume a position as the head coach of the Singapore National Team, multiple sources have confirmed to SwimSwam today. His swimmers were told after lunch, with a parents meeting in the evening to share with the rest of the team.
“It’s a little heartbreaking,” Lopez said of leaving Bolles. “I feel like I’ve grown as a person and as a coach at Bolles, and it was a great place for both me and my family.”
Lopez will now become one of four coaches at the Singapore Sports Institution that will advise coaches across all sports. That means Lopez will be impacting multiple sports outside of swimming, though his expertise in aquatics will still be a major asset to the national staff.
He emphasized the importance of his children’s education in his family’s decision – Lopez has two children just heading into their high school years, and made sure they would have strong educational opportunities in Singapore before deciding to take the job.
Representing Spain at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, Lopez won an individual bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke as an athlete. Since then, he has become one of the world’s most successful coaches at developing talent, which includes producing two of the fastest High School swimmers in history last year: sprinter Caeleb Dressel and butterflier Joseph Schooling. Another former swimmer of his, Ryan Murphy, won two backstroke NCAA Championships in his freshman season at Cal.
Schooling is the Lopez’s connection to Singapore, as he is a Singapore native. This summer, Schooling, who is now a freshman at the University of Texas, earned a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 100 fly and was the Asian Champion in the same.
That success earned Schooling $370,000 in reward money from his national federation, before taxes, showing that there is plenty of money to be made in the Singapore federation for successful coaches and athletes. Lopez was also coaching former Olympic finalist Tao Li at Bolles until recently when she returned to Singapore to continue training.
Lopez has developed a wide range of talents; in addition to the individual successes listed above, the Bolles School’s high school team has won 27-straight boys State Championships and 24-straight girls State Championships in Florida’s Class 1A. His teams hold 5 out of the 11 independent school National High School Records in yards, all from the Lopez era. Lopez was also won the Swammy for both the 2012 Club and High School Coach of the Year.
Lopez has been the rumored favorite in Singapore to take over this position after British coach Ian Turner stepped down in August due to health concerns. The Singapore Swimming Association has called a meeting for Friday and invited all national swimmers and all 34 clubs, where they are expected to make the same announcement.
Now there will be a scramble to find his replacement at Bolles: a position so coveted, that seven years ago it led Lopez away from a role as the head coach at West Virginia.
No succession plan has been in place (Bolles is currently without a headmaster as well), but Lopez told parents that he was hoping to stay through December 31st.