“We could not be more pleased to have such an accomplished coach and athlete as the new leader of our internationally recognized program,” said John E. Trainer, Jr., Ph.D., president and head of school.
Lopez, a native of Barcelona, Spain, and a 1988 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 meter breaststroke, comes to Bolles from West Virginia University where he served as head coach of the Mountaineers’ men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams since April 2004.
In three years as head coach at WVU, Lopez twice earned BIG EAST coach of the year honors, tutoring four All-Americans and 11 honorable mention All-Americans. The men’s team won the 2007 BIG EAST championship, a first for West Virginia swimming, and the women placed third in BIG EAST competition this year, their highest finish ever.
Two West Virginia swimmers - Chris Hagedorn (2006) and Zoltan Povazsai (2007) - were named BIG EAST swimmer of the year, and the men’s team finished with a national ranking of 17th for the 2007 season, WVU’s best finish ever.
“Bolles has such a big tradition and I am flattered that they think I am the right person for the job,” said Lopez. My goal is to understand the culture of the School, the team, and its coaches so that I may create a great partnership with them to build an even stronger program. I have a chance to make the kids understand their talent and coach them on how to use that talent and passion in life,” he said of his coaching career. “I am very excited, it is about much more than winning, it is about developing kids.”
In Lopez’s three seasons at WVU, both the men’s and women’s team continually improved. He guided the men’s team to its first-ever Big East Championship in 2007 and was named Big East Men’s Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007. The women’s team had the highest placing in program history at the Big East Championships in 2007, finishing third. Under Lopez, West Virginia’s swimming and diving honors improved from zero to 18 All-American honors, zero to 31 individual and relay Big East champions (27 men, 4 women), two Big East men’s swimmers of the year, and 11 Big East records (8 men, 3 women). During Lopez’s tenure, West Virginia swimmers have also competed at the World Championships, U.S. Nationals, European Championships, World University Games, Mediterranean Games, and Central American Games. Lopez served as coach of the Mexican national team at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
During his time in Morgantown, Lopez also founded and directed West Virginia Aquatics, a USA swim club. Lopez hired and oversaw a staff of a head coach and five assistants to guide over 100 registered USA Swimming members. He also organized swim meets and coordinated fundraising efforts, helping to foster interest and awareness of swimming in the community and state.
Lopez was a member of the Spanish national team from 1984-96, joined by Bolles assistant coach Martin Zubero on the squad. In addition to an Olympic medal, Lopez won a silver medal in the 1993 world championships in the 400 medley, has held European and U.S. Open records in the 200 breast and has held or currently holds 14 records in Spain, two at Indiana University where he began his collegiate career, and eight at American University. Lopez earned nine All-American honors in the breast, 500 free and intermediate medley at Indiana and American.
There have only been three people from Spain winning Olympic medals in swimming and all three are now employed at The Bolles School. Joining Lopez in this honor are Martin Zubero, who won the Gold medal in the 1992 Olympics and his brother, David, who brought home the Bronze medal for Spain in 1980.
“I’ve known Lopez for 20 years and he has had experience at all levels,” explained Zubero. “He has had overall success at every place he has been and we know he is a proven winner.”
Lopez is married to the former Sandy Carlos and they have two children, Harley (8) and Cobi (6).
The Bolles boys and girls swimming and diving teams currently hold a total of 51 state championship titles and 9 national titles. Since 1972 Bolles has had swimmers represented at every Olympics. A total of 50 Bolles students or former students have participated in the Olympics, representing 26 countries and claiming six gold, three silver, and four bronze medals