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Carmel girls swimming going for 27th consecutive title this weekend


12:00 AM, Feb. 07, 2013 EST

Carmel High School celebrates winning first place Feb. 11, 2012, at the Indiana High School Athletic Association's Girls State Swimming & Diving Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis for the 26th year in a row. / Jennifer Cecil / For The Star

CARMEL, Ind. -- The Carmel High School girls swimming team can make history during this weekend's state finals -- more so than usual.

The Greyhounds are the dominant favorites to win the program's 27th consecutive state title, which would tie for the second-longest streak achieved nationally and inch a little closer to the all-time best mark of 29.

Preliminary swimming begins at 6 p.m. today, with the top-16 in each event will advancing to the consolation and finals at 1 p.m. Saturday at the IUPUI Natatorium. The diving begins at 9 a.m.

Pickford (Mich.) won 27 consecutive boys track and field state titles from 1952-1978 and the record streak belongs to the boys swimming program of Punahou High in Honolulu, Hawaii, which won 29 titles from 1958 to 1986. Carmel's streak is the longest current streak in the nation, regardless of gender or sport.

"It doesn't get old," said Carmel coach Chris Plumb. "But for me it's about the kids and I'm excited to see what they can do this weekend."

It appears Carmel will be in good shape for many seasons to come as several freshmen have already emerged as standouts.

Freshman Claire Adams won two individual titles at the Noblesville Sectional, the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke. She's the top seed in the 100 back. Two other freshmen each claimed one individual title: Kendall Smith in the 50 free and Veronica Burchill in the 100 free.

Plumb credits Carmel's feeder program, the Carmel Swim Club, for continually providing swimmers who are ready to compete at a high level.

"We expect our freshmen to perform well because they are well prepared and a lot of them have been in the big meets," Plumb said.

Adams competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials last year, while she and Burchill swam in the Junior National Meet.

"Some of swimmers have gone against the best swimmers in the world, so it doesn't overwhelm them to swim against some of the best in the state," Plumb said. "(Of course,) it doesn't hurt that they're fast."

But it's not as easy for the freshmen as it may appear.

"Expectations are high," Plumb said. "But for the seniors, none of them want to be the class that loses the streak. There is some positive stress there."

It's not only freshmen who are leading Carmel. One of those seniors, Lacey Locke, will look to add to her count of nine state championships, including being a part of the last three medley relays.

If Carmel can win a fourth medley relay, Locke would become the fourth athlete in state finals history to win four consecutive medley relay titles, joining former Carmel athletes Ginger Faerber, Tricia Tyner and Krista Davis.

Locke was also the 2011 individual medley relay champion and is one of two swimmers in this year's meet that have previously won individual state titles. Penn's Bethany Galant won the 200 IM last season.

Carmel's 200 medley relay team is the top seed in the state finals with a time of 1:44.17. Other top seeds among area swimmers are North Central's Rachel Hayden (50 free, 23.38), Westfield's Erin Moe (500 free, 4:56.92) and Ritter diver Sarah Bacon (score of 486.25).

 

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