Ryan Murphy grew up in Ponte Vedra and attended The Bolles School in Jacksonville before continuing his swimming career in college and winning four Olympic gold medals for Team U.S.A. He has partnered with Goldfish Swim School to bring a facility to St. Johns around the spring of 2024, and is also training to qualify for the Olympics that summer in Paris.
Has starting a swim school been something you’ve thought about for a while now?
It definitely came about pretty organically. After the 2016 Olympics, I thought a lot about the ways that I could give back, and it didn’t have to be something related to swimming, but that just seemed pretty natural.
I became involved with the USA Swimming Foundation and ended up creating a strong partnership with Goldfish, who is a big supporter of them. Over time, I really got to learn about them, and I got hooked on the model that they use.
You kind of have to take a closer look at the Murphy family. My grandpa writes textbooks for a living and my dad is a professor, so it’s always seemed to come naturally to be a teacher and pass along knowledge to the next generation.
This has basically been a process we’ve been working on for the past couple of years, and it’s getting even more exciting the closer we get to bringing a school like this to the Jacksonville area.
What are your goals for the swim school?
The sport of swimming and the city of Jacksonville have created so many of the highlights I’ve had in my life. To give the gift of swimming and knowing how it can make a difference in someone’s life is such a special thing.
There are 150 Goldfish facilities across the U.S., and they really find their success by presenting a quality program.
There weren’t as sophisticated programs around when I was growing up, but this Goldfish Swim School will change all of that moving forward.
We plan on opening in the spring of 2024, or at least that’s our hopeful date and we feel pretty good about that.
It would be incredible to have a future Olympian come from this school one day.
What is it about the Goldfish Swim School that led you partnering with them?
It’s a very natural step up that the program provides. We’ll offer lessons as early as 4 months old, which is when they’re in the pool with their parents and it is all about teaching basic survival skills.
Then, from there it builds and continues to develop as the kids stay within the program.
I’m a big believer in the first time you learn to do something, that it’s important to do it the right way. It sets that foundation of technique.
I know you are also training for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, so it seems like that could be a busy year for you?
Yeah, 2024 could definitely be a big one in a lot of ways. Both on a personal level and the athlete side of things, as I try to do my part to help Team U.S.A. wins some medals, and on the home front with the opening of the school.
It’s cool to look back at my journey and it’s going to be fun to be in more of a mentoring role.
What do you love most about living in northeast Florida?
I’ve lived in a couple of different places around the U.S., but there’s just something about Jacksonville and this area that makes it just so different.
I’ve really been getting into golf of late, which is fun, and I have never played TPC Sawgrass yet, but I plan to.
Every Sunday you’ll find me tuned in and watching the Jags play. As a fan, there’s always been a sense of optimism, but especially now it just feels different with them having a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl.