The nation’s record-holding high school swimming dynasty, Bolles chases another title Saturday in the FHSAA finals.
Bolles swimming will be competing at the Class 2A state championships on Saturday in Stuart, the team’s first state final under their new head coach Peter Verhoef.
The Sharks have won 31 consecutive state championships in boys swimming, a national record, and the girls team has won every state championship since 1991, 28 years in a row.
“You certainly want to respect the tradition and respect the fact that there is such a big streak going on here,” said the new head coach. “We’re trying to beat the person next to us and focus on the little steps along the way, so by the time we get to this point, it’s just a matter of stepping up and racing and letting the work we’ve done kind of speak for itself, and have fun with that,” he said.
Kara Gavin is a senior at Bolles, swimming in her sixth year. She explained that last year, and her freshman year, the team’s record was under threat.
“They [Pine Crest] were competitive with us, they beat us in our dual meets, and that was the first team we lost a dual meet in a long time,” she said. “We really had to come together as a team and remind each other to be at practice everyday, train hard and eat right... We didn’t want to be the people to let all the alumni down,” said Gavin.
The legacy of those alumni extends for decades. Bolles has developed individual and relay champions at every level of competitive swimming, with over 100 members of the school or club programs representing the U.S. and other countries in international competition, according to their website. The list includes athletes like Ryan Murphy, three-time gold medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“We try to walk in as a team together, we know as long as we have each other behind the blocks while we’re racing then it’s going to go well,” said senior Leah DeGeorge.
“They’re excited to get on the blocks, they want their races to happen, so when you get a team in that mode, good things are going to happen for you,” said Verhoef.