They say "the path to Gold begins at Bolles" -- and for good reason. There's been at least one swimmer with ties to The Bolles School at each Olympic Games since 1972.
"As a coach, you always knew what Gregg Troy [now the head coach of the Florida Gators] started here," first-year head coach Peter Verhoef said. "[He] started the program for what it was. The success they've had at the Olympics is phenomenal."
Verhoef, a former stand-out at Georgia and an Olympic Trials finalist, is now charged with continuing that tradition -- if not bettering it.
“If you go back to how they became an Olympic brand, its because they did little things right, and they worked really hard," Verhoef explained. "I don’t feel a lot of pressure to create Olympic success. I feel a lot of pressure to have everyone at their best.”
So, in Verhoef's first summer, it's become all about the details.
Holding your breath a little longer.
How you push off the wall.
Technique, technique, technique.
“I think he’s really brought a winning attitude," rising junior Sasha Ramey said. "Not that we didn’t have that before, but he’s really focused on making our program the best.”
"It's A lot more planned," fellow rising junior Ansen Meyer added. "And there’s a lot more focus given to each season – instead of just ‘swim and hope for the best.’”
As if becoming just the fourth coach in the last 40 years wasn't already a challenge, this will be Verhoef's first time coaching a "high school team." Verhoef previously coached at SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte, one of the nation's premier club programs. He also has coached junior college and feels that experience will lend itself -- although he's especially excited for dual meets and the spirited nature of high school swim meets.
Verhoef also understands he can't -- and there is no need -- to re-invent the wheel.
“To say we’re going to make an Olympic brand better is probably a fool’s errand," he said. "For us its, how can we be the best we can be right now? Because I can trust that our best is gonna be just as good as any Olympian we’ve had here”
Even with some changes, it's safe to say: the path to Gold still runs through Bolles.