Swimming into Nationals: The Bolles Swimming and Diving team are National champs!


Robert Sohovich

Closeup of the Bolles swim cap. Credit: Robert Sohovich

When you walk down the halls and see all the shaved heads and the orange shirts there’s a meaning behind it. The swim team which is a big part of the Bolles athletics department are currently National Virtual Champs.

The Virtual National Championship is determined by the combination of results from the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association), state meet and Swimming World magazine.They’ve been using this method for decades now in order to determine National Champions.

Head swim coach Peter Verhoef says that in order to prepare for the meet, “We purposely set goals for our team to score points in that virtual championship.” He continued, “So the strategy behind it was identifying that we have a goal that we want to win this. It wasn’t just showing up and hey let’s just do the best we can. It was actually like, hey, let’s intentionally kind of aim for this goal.”

As you walk past the pools your eyes are drawn to the “National Champions” sign hung on the bleachers, showing that the swim team had top scores. Verhoef commented, “We had a great meet last year, it was one of those meets where the preparation we did and the work we did for the year prior, you could really see that coming through.”

As the swim season progresses the team is striving to win again. “I’m trying to win again. Same strategy right?” said Coach Verhoef.

Verhoef has been coaching at Bolles since 2019 and in total has 12 years of coaching experience, but has been swimming his whole life. When asked how he knew he wanted to pursue coaching he stated, “I get a lot out of impacting others. When I’m making an impact on them, whether it’s teaching them something or whatever it is, it’s what really helps me feel good about what I do. And swimming just happens to be the language I speak. I’m just more fluent at that than anything else.”

Continuing with the goal of winning nationals, the swim team will be participating in the coming meets in order to prepare for nationals.

Verhoef ended by saying “Just for people to experience that [swim] and realize what it takes to get there. It’s really special. So add on a little sprinkle of competition and you’re wanting to beat somebody else and it’s a lot of fun.”