Carmel Swim Club wins National Junior Winter Championship

Just when you think Carmel swimmers couldn’t accomplish more in 2021, they do.

With high school freshman Alex Shackell winning seven gold and two silver in girls, Carmel Swim Club won their first National Junior Winter Championship on Saturday night.

Carmel capped a year in which he produced his first Olympic swimmers in Drew Kibler and Jake Mitchell, became the first public high school to win the boys ‘and girls’ national titles, and extended his U.S. record to 35 titles in Consecutive female state.

“I’m excited for our team, especially facing big programs with sometimes double the number of swimmers we have,” said coach Chris Plumb.

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The Carmel Swim Club’s only other junior national crown dates back to the summer of 2014.

USA Swimming has divided the National Winter Championships between the East in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the West in Austin, Texas.

In Greensboro, Carmel totaled 659 points to 617.5 for SwimMAC Carolina. The Carmel girls swept all five relays and topped the Dynamo Swim Club of Georgia 511-290.5.

Friday night embodied the kind of encounter it was for Carmel. Three girls – Shackell (butterfly), Devon Kitchel (breaststroke) and Berit Berglund (back) – won the 100-yard titles in three different strokes.

“It’s really unique. It shows our balance, ”Plumb said.

Berglund, Kitchel, Shackell and Gretchen Lueking set Carmel’s only national record, a time of 3: 33.88 in the 400-yard medley relay.

Carmel's First Year Alex Shackell

Shackell has competed in all five stints, clocking a 400 freestyle relay time in 48.65 in his 15th race in four days.

She won the 100 and 200 butterflies in 51.21 and 1: 54.26, respectively, for the number 2 in USA Swimming and 4 times by a 15-year-old. Shackell, who recently turned 15, set Indiana records 15-16 and was faster than the 17-18 age group.

She was second in the 50 freestyle in 22.34 – No. 8 all-time at 15 – and second behind Kitchel in the 200 IM.

“There’s nothing she can’t do right now,” Plumb said of Shackell. “She’s an unstoppable force, for sure.”

Berglund, a high school junior, moved up to sixth on the all-time 15-16 list in the 100 backstroke. If she could duplicate her 51.32 at the state meetup on Feb.12, she would break the U.S. public school record held by Olivia Smoliga since 2012.

Kitchel, a senior from Zionsville high school, won the 200 IM in 1: 56.39 and the 100 breaststroke in 1: 00.53.

Zionsville Modglin bib wins

Elsewhere, Zionsville junior Will Modglin won the boys’ 100m backstroke in 45.90, 0.32 short of Ryan Hoffer’s 2015 national junior record. Modglin became third fastest at 17 behind Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy (45.34 in 2012) and Hoffer.

In the 400 freestyle relay, Modglin clocked a 43.94 lead for Zionsville Swim Club, who was fifth in 2: 59.37. Carter Lancaster, a former Carmel swimmer, swam an anchor point of 44.08 for the Bolles School Sharks, whose time of 2: 56.11 was 0.22 short of the competition record set by a Bolles team with Olympic champions Caeleb Dressel and Joseph Schooling.

Fishers junior JoJo Ramey won the women’s 200 backstroke in 1: 52.42. Kyle Ponsler, also of Fishers, was second in the men’s 400 IM in 3: 47.76.

Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at Follow him on Twitter: @ DavidWoods007.