82ºF

Swimmers with ties to Jacksonville find success in Rio

Ryan Murphy, Caeleb Dressel, Joseph Schooling win gold

Ryan Murphy (left) swims 200-meter backstroke with United States' Josh Prenot in Rio de Janeiro. (AP photo by David J. Phillip)
Ryan Murphy (left) swims 200-meter backstroke with United States' Josh Prenot in Rio de Janeiro. (AP photo by David J. Phillip) (Associated Press)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Success at the Rio Olympics continues to follow swimmers with ties to Jacksonville and the program at The Bolles School.

Bolles' 2014 graduate Joseph Schooling, swimming for Singapore, out-dueled Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday night to claim the gold medal.

Ryan Murphy, a 2013 Bolles graduate, has already won two gold medals in the games and will swim Saturday night with Phelps in the 4x100-meter medley relay with a chance for another medal.

Caeleb Dressel, who swam with the Bolles club program but attended Clay High School, won gold Sunday swimming with Phelps in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay.

Head swim coach at The Bolles School is in Minneapolis with swimmers from the school attending the Junior Nationals, but that hasn’t stopped them from making sure to be in front of the TV to watch the best the sport has to offer, including Murphy.

“A lot of the kids know him or remember him and recognize it,” Bolles' head swim coach Jon Sakovich said. “They're very excited and inspired and want to go on and do great things, want to work hard. It's definitely a boost for us.”

Early in his high school career, Sakovich could tell Murphy was going to be an elite swimmer, but even four years ago when he finished fourth in Olympic trials, he never would have guessed Murphy would now be the best backstroker in the world.

“In the grand scheme of things, he did what he needed to do. He was a hard worker, he was dedicated to the sport, he was dedicated to his events. You really couldn't ask too much more out of him,” Sakovich said

Murphy will get a chance to swim with Michael Phelps Saturday night on a U.S. team that is favored to win gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay.

For Phelps, it would be his 23rd gold medal. For Murphy, age 21, it would be a very impressive third medal in his first Olympics. Sakovich said that its success like this that can have a long lasting effect.

“This is great for Bolles. It's great for Jacksonville, and for swimming in general. Americans have done excellent at these games. I know there were a lot of questions coming in, but to see the U.S. dominate the sport of swimming again, it's great," Sakovich said. “Hopefully, it will get more kids into the sport. Maybe then we'll see more future Ryan Murphys and Michael Phelps down the road.”

Murphy’s father, Pat, said earlier in the week that once the Olympics are over for Ryan, his attention will turn back to his college career at Cal Berkley. Once that ends, the focus becomes the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.