PHOENIX, Arizona, November 13. WE'VE seen many great performances in high school swimming competitions in the past 50 years. Mark Spitz made his breakthrough as a high school swimmer, setting numerous American records. Jeff Kostoff's amazing 4:16 in the 500 free from 1983 still stands as the national high school record. And of course, there was David Nolan's multiple national records in 2011 over the course of two days.
But swimming fans and historians will be hard pressed to find a performance that was more impressive than what the Bolles School did last Saturday at the Division 1 Florida state championships. Not only did the boys' team win their 25th consecutive state title, but the team set national high school records in all three relay events, something that had never been done before. The 400 freestyle relay was the most impressive. The team of Ryan Murphy, Joe Schooling, Santo Condorelli and Josh Booth swam a 2:54.43, taking four seconds off their own national record and putting the record well out of reach for the rest of the country. Before this season, the best time ever done by a high school team was 2:59.76.
Ryan Murphy was on all three of those relays, posting some tremendous leadoff times, including a 21.09 in the 50 back on the medley relay, which would beat all the leadoffs in the same event at the 2012 NCAA Division I meet.
In leading off Bolles' relays, Murphy set an independent high school national record in the 50 free with a 19.54 and the 100 free with a 42.95. But his crowning individual achievement is that 45.34 in the 100 backstroke prelims, which broke Nolan's overall national record. And, the time would have placed second at the NCAAs last spring.
Joe Schooling was a surprise record setter in the 100 butterfly, swimming a 46.50. Look for Schooling to lower this record further next year as a high school senior. Incidentally, Schooling's time would have placed eighth at the NCAA championships.
Unless some high school out there can put up some swims that outrank what we saw last weekend, the Bolles boys team is on pace to win the Swimming World national team title next year, which would make it two in a row and five in 14 years.
Congratulations Bolles on your amazing swims last Saturday. You've won our Performance of the Week.