After the eldest sons of Amy and John Bollinger of Chester – J.K. and Tyler – were on the swim team, then three-year-old Cody Bollinger decided he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brothers. Now 15, and a student at L.C. Bird, Cody has numerous records. In addition to those records Bollinger has Olympic aspirations and a work ethic that suggests it may be a possibility.
“He’s so good at swimming,” explained Amy Bollinger, his mother. “But we also don’t want him to miss out on things that kids do – having a social life and hanging out,” she explained. “It’s very important to us as parents.”
The Skyhawk maintains a rigorous schedule in the pool year-round, making at least eight practices a week as he swims for POSEIDON, a local swim club. Often, Bollinger spends four to four-and-a-half hours in a swimming pool daily.
“All of my friends swim,” said Cody Bollinger. “Then you get to meet a lot of interesting people because people from all over the country swim,” he explained.
Cody started swimming at one-and-a-half as his parents recall.
“We put floaties on him and his legs just started going,” said John Bollinger, his father. “And he just never stopped going.”
An early start and much practice has netted Cody six Chesterfield Aquatic League summer records, 14 individual and seven relay team records at POSEIDON, and 19 records on the Beulah swim team, ranging from age seven to present. Bollinger initially had two state records – one was broken. The one that still stands is a blistering time of 24.50 seconds in the 50 meter freestyle.
Cody is a “sprinter” in the pool – meaning he specializes in those short distances, and covers them in a hurry. His idol is United States Olympic Swimmer Nathan Adrian who swims the 50 and 100 free.
“When I’m training I just focus on being the fastest I can be,” Cody explained. “And if I’m tired, I think about making the Olympics and it keeps me going.”
NCAA rules do not allow colleges to contact Cody directly, as he is a sophomore, but colleges have already started to show up to scout him. Bollinger has a “B” average in his classes, and is developing as a student just as he’s developing as a swimmer.
“We’re hoping that swimming (along with academics) can help him get to college,” said Amy Bollinger.
With all of those classes, a mound of homework and all that time in the pool, Cody will often start an average school day with a practice at 4:30 a.m., head straight to school, head to another practice after school, and then settle in to study.
“Sometimes I get really worn out,” explained Bollinger. “Then I just sleep… A LOT,” he emphasized.
All of this isn’t too bad for having seriously committed to swimming just three years ago. For now, the L.C. Bird Skyhawk will paddle along as he makes his way through his high school career in the pool and the classroom.