By Mark Ambrogi
Minutes after jumping into the pool to celebrate with her Carmel High School teammates and coaches, Claire Adams began helping out a friend by picking up empty water bottles and trash in the bleachers.
Her actions were appropriate because she cleaned up in the state swimming finals Feb. 13 at IU Natatorium at IUPUI. Foremost she helped propel her team to a history-making 30th state title in a row. The Carmel girls swim team now has the longest streak in any sport, breaking a tie it with the Punahou High School (Honolulu, Hawaii). which won 29 boys swimming state crowns (1958-86).
Adams won the 100-yard backstroke, 100 freestyle and was on two winning relay teams, concluding with a perfect 16-0 record in state final events, breaking the old record of Carmel’s Emily Ayers (14 state titles from 1992-95). For good measure, she won the Indiana High School Athletic Association Mental Attitude Award. If this was a movie, this Hollywood ending might be too much.
“It’s been an incredible four years,” said Adams, who will swim for the University of Texas next season. “I’m so blessed and grateful for everything my teammates and coaches have done for me. I couldn’t be more excited to end it like this.”
Carmel senior Veronica Burchill, who will swim for Georgia next season, is in second place with 15 state titles, winning the 100 butterfly in a state record time of 51.79 seconds. She was on three winning relay teams. Her sister, Sammie, a junior, won the 200 individual medley.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better. I got to cap off my senior year with my sister on my relay,” Burchill said. “I’m so honored to swim for this team and be part of this legacy.”
Junior Emma Nordin captured the 200 and 500 freestyle as the Greyhounds won nine of 12 events to rack up 438 points, easily outdistancing second-place Hamilton Southeastern (193.5 points).
“It’s been a tremendous day for us, but it’s been a tremendous 30 years for the program and all the girls that allowed this day to be possible,” said Plumb, who won a record 10th state coaching title. “At the same time, it’s a relief to have it done with. The girls brought it. Under these pressures, it’s a tribute to their hard work and their belief in themselves.”