Finally, some relief. Finally, the buzz might die down.
After a national and historic record in sports played out Saturday amid splashes of steely blue waters – Carmel High School swimmers winning an unmatched streak of 30 straight state titles – coach Chris Plumb felt elation and pride.
But most of all, he felt a huge weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.
“In so many respects, it’s a relief,” said Plumb. “We knew we could do it, but until we did it?”
All the build-up and the press coverage and the nonstop talk about Carmel girls swimming having a chance at that national record. All the pressure. All the stress.
The team made it look easy, breaking the record inside the Natatorium at IUPUI, scoring 438 points and winning nine of 11 events. The second-place team, Hamilton Southeastern finished with 193.5 points.
With the win, Carmel overtook their own tied record with Honolulu’s Punahou High School’s boys’ swim team, which won 29 state titles from 1958 to 1986, and Carmel became the best high school sports program in the nation – ever.
Senior standout Claire Adams had a record day, becoming the first swimmer in Indiana history to win 16 state titles. She also became the first woman to win the 100-yard backstroke all four years of her high school career.
Adams, a silver medalist in the World Junior Swimming Championships last summer in Singapore, also took home the Mental Attitude Award.
“It’s so super exciting,” Adams said after her team had jumped together into the pool, holding hands and screaming. Once in the water, they counted down from 30 to 1, signifying each year the team had been state victors.
Still, Adams’ favorite moment of the day had little to do with winning the championship or her individual titles. Her favorite moment was dancing with her teammates before the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay, which Adams helped win with a time of 1:39.86.
“It’s all about living in the moment,” she said.
Saturday was so much bigger than just one team. Dozens of former Carmel swimmers converged on the Natatorium to witness the record they had helped create.
“It felt like old times,” said Elizabeth Tucker, a swimmer for Carmel from 1988 to 1990, who came from California to watch Saturday’s championship. “We were all nervous, even though we weren’t swimming. It all came back.”
Being a part of the national record-setting team is something senior Veronica Burchill will never forget.
“It’s just such a surreal experience,” she said. “And I’m just honored to have been a part of it.”
Burchill beat her own state record in the 100-yard butterfly Saturday with a 51.79, a record she had just set Friday (52.13) at preliminaries. It wasn’t quite enough to beat the national record of 51.70 as many thought she could.
But that event wasn’t her favorite of the day. Her favorite was winning the final 400-yard freestyle relay with sister, Sammie Burchill, a junior.
“To finish it off with my sister? I just couldn’t ask for a better way to go out, to finish my high school career,” she said.
Sammie Burchill made her mark in other ways Saturday, winning the 200-yard individual medley. In what many considered an upset, she beat out world junior bronze medalist Hannah Kukurugya of Crown Point. Burchill swam the event in 1:57.99, beating Kukurugya’s 1:59.28.
And while the team’s victory, including two individual wins from junior Emma Nordin in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, may have been a historic one, it didn’t quite compare to what the program did at last year’s state championship.
That Carmel squad was, arguably, the best high school team ever. In the state finals, it also won nine of 11 swimming events, but broke national records in all three relays and finished with 445 points – the most ever in 41 years of Indiana’s state meet. Carmel’s 266-point margin over second-place Fishers last year was also a record.
200-yard Medley Relay
Carmel, 1:39.86: Claire Adams, senior; Kendall Smith, senior; Veronica Burchill, senior; and Trude Rothrock, sophomore
Carmel, 1:47.95: Emma Nordin, junior
200-yard Individual Medley
Carmel, 1:57.99: Sammie Burchill, junior
Hamilton Southeastern, 22.91: Robyn Clevenger, senior
Carmel, 51.79 (beat state record of 52.13): Veronica Burchill, senior
Carmel, 48.83: Claire Adams, senior
Carmel, 4:52.09: Emma Nordin, junior
200-yard Freestyle Relay
Carmel, 1:31.59: Veronica Burchill, senior; Kendall Smith, senior; Grace Pangburn, freshman; and Kelly Pash, freshman.
Carmel, 52.39: Claire Adams, senior
Yorktown, 1:02.20: Emily Weiss, freshman
400-yard Freestyle Relay
All-time high school streaks
Nation’s longest streaks of consecutive state championships:
30: Carmel, girls swimming, 1986-2015
29: Honolulu Punahou, boys swimming, 1958-86
28: Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles School, boys swimming, 1988-2015
27: Pickford (Mich.), boys track and field, 1952-78
27: Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier, boys swimming, 1989-2015
27: Bennington (Vt.) Mount Anthony, wrestling, 1989-2015
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow.
At IUPUI Natatorium
Team Results: Carmel 438, Hamilton Southeastern 193.5, Chesterton 193, Zionsville 164, Northridge 150, Crown Point 122, Homestead 114, Penn 100, Carroll (Ft. Wayne) 97, Fishers 95, North Central 84, South Bend Riley 72, Bloomington South 59, Franklin 58, Yorktown 43, Munster 34, Jay County 31, Avon 23, Warsaw 23, Castle 22, Wawasee 20, South Bend St. Joseph 19, Plainfield 17, Center Grove 16, Centerville 15, Jeffersonville 15, Greewood 14, Noblesville 12, Jasper 11, Concord 9.5, New Albany 7, Mt. Vernon 6, Franklin Central 6, Greenfield-Central 4, Evansville Reitz 4, Columbus North 3, Lake Central 3, Whiteland 2, Indian Creek 2, Westfield 1, Pike 1.
Individual Results: 200 Medley Relay—1. Carmel (Claire Adams, Kendall Smith, Veronica Burchill, Trude Rothrock) 1:39.86, 2. Penn, 3. Chesterton. 200 Freestyle—1. Emma Nordin (Carmel) 1:47.95, 2. Kylie Mihok (Zionsville), 3. Kelly Pash (Carmel). 200 IM—1. Sammie Burchill (Carmel) 1:57.99, 2. Hannah Kukurugya (Crown Point), 3. Trude Rothrock (Carmel). 50 freestyle—1. Robyn Clevenger (Hamilton Southeastern) :22.91, 2. Vanessa Krause (Chesterton), 3. Kendall Smith (Carmel). Diving—1. Jackie Brenn (Homestead) 485.45, 2. Molly Fears (Plainfield), 3. Rachel Smallwood (Center Grove). 100 Butterfly—1. Veronica Burchll (Carmel) *:51.79, 2. Vanessa Krause (Chesterton), 3. Trude Rothrock (Carmel). 100 Freestyle—1. Claire Adams (Carmel) :48.83, 2. Kelly Pash (Carmel), 3. Robyn Clevenger (Hamilton Southeastern). 500 Freestyle—1. Emma Nordin (Carmel) 4:52.09, 2. Katie Hughes (Northridge), 3. Morgan Miller (Carmel). 200 Freestyle Relay—1. Carmel (Veronica Burchill, Kendall Smith, Grace Pangburn, Kelly Pash) 1:31.59, 2. Hamilton Southeastern (Robyn Clevenger, Natalie Mudd, Allie Barnes, Lauren Blanchard), 3. Carroll (Ft. Wayne). 100 Backstroke—1. Claire Adams (Carmel) :52.39, 2. Sammie Burchill (Carmel), 3. Natalie Mudd (Hamilton Southeastern). 100 breaststroke—1. Emily Weiss (Yorktown) 1:02.20, 2. Abigail Kilparick (South Bend Riley), 3. Kionna Clayton (Penn). 400 Freestyle Relay—1. Carmel (Veronica Burchill, Trude Rothrock, Sammie Burchill, Claire Adams) 3:16.15, 2. Hamilton Southeastern (Kylie Sutherlin, Robyn Clevenger, Allie Barnes, Natalie Mudd), 3. Chesterton.