Welcome to SwimCity, USA: Carmel, Indiana has 14 swimmers within the Olympic qualifiers

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Welcome to Carmel, Indiana, AKA SwimCity, USA, the place extra swimmers will compete within the 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers over the subsequent week than there are visitors lights on the roads.

The 50-square-mile, 106,000-person metropolis is house to 14 swimmers who’re collaborating in 46 occasions within the trials from June 15-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Seven athletes are excessive schoolers, certainly one of whom simply completed eighth grade and one other simply graduated. The women highschool group has received 38 state championships in a row — a nationwide document for any sport in any state — and the boys have received 13 of the final 15, with head coach Chris Plumb overseeing each groups for 18 of these years.

The custom, historical past and dominance of this sport in Carmel is what’s permitting a full share level of the 1,000 swimmers competing within the qualifiers to be from this comparatively small midwest metropolis that Mayor Sue Finkam has led the rebranded moniker of SwimCity, USA.

“Mayors really have two opportunities: That’s to convene people around important conversations and to promote the community. This does both,” she mentioned. “It convenes us around a topic of excellence and swinging for the fences, which Carmel has done a lot of and been successful at, and also allows us to promote the heck out of an incredible community.”

Convening the neighborhood round Carmel Excessive College

The swimming neighborhood of Carmel is funneled by means of neighborhood meets and the Carmel Swim Membership, which has almost 500 athletes on the aggressive group and one other 1,700 on the noncompetitive arm, the Carmel Swim Academy, as much as Carmel Excessive College, the one highschool within the metropolis.

Round 2008, metropolis leaders mentioned opening a second highschool. As populations develop, most communities accomplish that to create a extra manageable ecosystem for 1000’s of teenage learners.

Carmel determined to not, and that has made all of the distinction for town.

“Carmel made a decision really for the arts to have all this money pooled into one high school … which allows us to have the facilities and to support the athletics,mentioned Plumb.

With a pupil inhabitants of 5,300, Carmel Excessive College has a TV and radio station, an automotive store that’s actively below growth, golf equipment together with robotics, jewellery, engineering, and a development membership that teaches college students find out how to construct tiny houses.

“They have incredible resources there for kids who are college-bound or trade-bound, and the realization was if they had two high schools, they’d have to choose who gets [which club],Finkam mentioned.

The town has been recognized for distinctive motion plans previously, most notably the choice to transition away from visitors lights to roundabouts. In 2023, the Wall Road Journal highlighted how former mayor Jim Brainard, who served seven straight phrases, led the updating of zoning codes and tax increment financing to construct mixed-use developments, town heart, walkable trails, and a community of greater than 150 roundabouts to assist ease visitors, lower automotive accidents, and decrease carbon emissions.

Photograph courtesy of Carmel

Right this moment, there are solely 10 intersections below town’s jurisdiction with visitors lights, 4 of which shall be transformed into roundabouts in 2025.

“We had stable leaders on city council, we didn’t have a lot of turnover, so we had a buy-in to the vision that lasted for a couple of decades,” mentioned Finkam, who served on town council for 10 years.

The town’s model celebrates what makes the realm distinct with neighborhood assist and fast, decisive motion from the native authorities, leveraging distinctive alternatives just like the upcoming trials.

2024 Olympic Qualifiers

The individuals of town take delight of their swimmers. After the thirtieth championship, the nationwide document, Carmel hosted a parade for the highschool swimmers. Within the city sq., there’s a tv on which trials from the previous have been aired. The town celebrated a send-off for the group of qualifier rivals in Could with one other parade earlier than the swimmers left to coach.

“The people of the community understand how unique that success is,” Plumb mentioned.

The athletes competing within the qualifiers and their occasions are as follows:

  • Berit Berglund, 100 BK
  • Lynsey Bowen, 200, 400, 800 FR; 200 FL
  • Ellie Clarke, 200 BK, 400 IM
  • Wyatt Davis, 100, 200 BK
  • Gregg Enoch, 400 FR; 200 FL; 200, 400 IM
  • Kayla Han, 400, 800, 1500 FR; 400 IM
  • Drew Kibler, 50, 100, 200, 400 FR
  • Jake Mitchell, 200, 400 FR; 200 BK
  • Kelly Pash, 50, 100, 200 FR; 100, 200 FL; 200 IM
  • Aaron Shackell, 100, 200, 400, 800 FR; 100, 200 FL
  • Alex Shackell, 100, 200 FR; 100, 200 FL; 200 IM
  • Andrew Shackell, 200 FR
  • Sean Sullivan, 200 IM
  • Molly Sweeney, 100, 200 BR; 200 IM

Since 1988, there have solely been two years with none swimming rivals from Carmel. Over that point, there have been 51 completely different swimmers, and in 2012, there was a document 17 for town. In 2021, Carmel had two swimmers qualify for the Olympics for the primary time within the metropolis’s swimming historical past.

“One of the things that everyone always asks me — ‘How come we don’t have more Olympians from Carmel, we have this rich swimming history?’” Plumb mentioned. “There are more starting NFL QBs than there will be men on the swim team — every four years. It is extremely hard to have an Olympian.”

There’s promise for this 2024 group to construct upon the legacy. On Saturday, College of Texas swimmer Aaron Shackell certified for the Olympics after successful the 400-meter freestyle. Drew Kibler and Jake Mitchell, the 2021 Olympians, are again within the trial, and half the rivals are excessive schoolers with dominant observe information. 

Lynsey Bowen, dedicated to Florida as a member of the category of 2025, received two state championships this season within the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyles — repeating her 2023 title in each.

Ellie Clarke is simply 14, but with wins within the Indiana SC Championships, Indiana CSC Winter Invitational, Speedo Junior Nationwide Championships, and extra, she has confirmed she is certified to compete in opposition to athletes a decade her senior. Clarke was a finalist in 4 occasions on the Speedo Sectionals, ending second within the 200-meter backstroke.

Kayla Han was the youngest qualifier in 2021 when she was simply 13, however she now has one other three years of expertise and represented the US within the 2024 World Championships. She received 4 freestyle occasions on the Speedo Sectionals in March, setting information in two of them, and set three freestyle information in a dominant Speedo Winter Junior Championship East efficiency in December.

Gregg Enoch simply graduated and, after successful the state championship within the 500-yard freestyle this 12 months, is about to attend Louisville. He completed second in a pair of state championship occasions as a junior and set a document in his 500-yard freestyle victory on the Speedo Winter Junior Championship East as a senior.

Molly Sweeney has received 4 state championships over the past two faculty years, going back-to-back within the 200-yard particular person medley and 100-yard breaststroke. She additionally set a document within the 200-yard breaststroke within the Speedo Winter Junior Championship East. She and Han are tied because the No. 2-ranked swimmer within the Swimcloud’s class of 2026 rankings.

Twins Alex and Andrew Shackell plan to hold on the household swimming legacy, with elder Aaron already qualifying. Andrew, ranked because the No. 2 boys swimmer in Indiana, positioned third in each the 50and 100-yard freestyles within the state championships this season after successful each occasions within the sectionals.

Alex’s Swimcloud web page is suffering from first-place finishes and Indiana information, having set state information within the 100- and 200-meter fly in March on the Speedo Sections, successful 4 state championships between the final two seasons, and dominating the Speedo Winter Junior Championships. Within the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, she received silver alongside Katie Ledecky.

Plumb advised a narrative in regards to the World Aquatics group, the place every participant acquired a poker chip from the U.S. group coach to characterize going “all-in” on this event. “Katie Ledecky gave hers to Alex right before they swam on the relay together,” Plumb mentioned.

Getting into the Olympic qualifiers, athletes will swim alongside elite athletes who exhibit “what excellence really looks like, the amount time and commitment and, to me, the level of focus that it takes,” Plumb mentioned.

They’re doing it collectively, as a unit that has swam alongside one another for the bulk of their lives.

“The support they have for each other is just unbelievable … They know that they need each other,” Plumb mentioned. “That, to me, is the best part: the camaraderie and the willingness to do more for their teammates, and the amount of support it takes to be on this level.”

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