Carmel High School girls swimming team keeps making waves with 38th straight state title

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Carmel High School girls swimming coach Chris Plumb was certain his team had room for improvement after the preliminaries.

“I felt we swam a lot more like we were capable (in the finals),” Plumb said. “I thought we were anxious and over-excited to swim and had a rough start (in the prelims). Once we settled down for the rest of the meet, they did a great job and everyone was moving forward.”

CHS captured its 38th consecutive IHSAA girls swimming state championship Feb. 10 at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI. The 38 straight state titles is a national record for all high school sports.

Carmel won with 433 points, more than 200 points ahead of second-place Penn’s 212. Fishers finished third with 202 points, followed by Zionsville with 170. Hamilton Southeastern placed sixth with 127 points. 

The Greyhounds won eight events with Lynsey Bowen, Alex Shackell and sophomore Molly Sweeney each winning two individual titles.

“They bring a lot to the team obviously,” Plumb said. “They are incredibly fast and their work ethic, their ability to rise to the occasion with big performances and just their willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win.” 

Bowen won the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 45.74 seconds and 500 free in a state record time of 4:40.74.

“We’re all super close, hang out the time,” said Bowen, who has committed to the University of Florida. “It’s so fun to be part of this team.”

 Bowen said the key in her races was to have fun and not think about it too much.

“When you have success, it just motivates you to go faster,” Bowen said. “With all the fast girls on our team, it’s fun to train with them every day. We have so much people who can push each other in practice every day.”

Sweeney was a double winner in the 200 individual medley (1.56.38) and 100 breaststroke (59.47). 

Junior Alex Shackell captured the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. 

“I was pretty happy with all my races,” said Shackell, who has committed to the University of California/Berkeley. “This is just part of my process toward 2024.”

She set a state record time of 50.25 seconds in the 100 butterfly. She won the backstroke in 51.63.

“I’m excited to see what happens with my backstroke,” she said. “I don’t really train on it that much.” 

Shackell was on the 200-yard medley relay and 400 freestyle relay winning teams. She was joined on the 200 medley relay team by Sweeney, junior Kayla Barr and senior Grace Dougherty.  Shackell, Sweeney and Bowen were on the 400 free team along with freshman Faith Gorey.

“I think we’re just going to get better,” Shackell said. “Next year might be the best year ever. I think we have a good shot at it. We have Ellie Clarke, an eighth-grader, coming in who is a really good backstroker. Plus we’ll have Kayla Han back.”

Han, a sophomore junior swimmer who moved in from La Mirada, Cali., missed the state meet because she was in at the World Championships at Doha, Qatar. 

Dougherty, who also was third in the 100 freestyle, will swim for UCLA next season.

“We’re going to miss Grace with her swimming, but she did a great job being a team captain and a leader,” Plumb said. “We’re going to miss her impact outside the pool as much as inside the pool.”

Senior Alyssa Street, who was third in 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 freestyle, will swim for Notre Dame next season.

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