For a 29th straight year, the Carmel girls' swimming and diving team took the celebratory plunge after tying the national record for most consecutive state titles. Photo by Bret Richardson
For a 29th straight year, the Carmel girls' swimming and diving team took the celebratory plunge after tying the national record for most consecutive state titles. Photo by Bret Richardson
INDIANAPOLIS - It was a historic day in the pool for the Carmel Greyhounds girls' swimming team on Saturday afternoon at the IUPUI Natatorium.

The Greyhounds captured their 29th-straight Indiana High School Athletic Association girls' swimming state title, tied the national high school record for most consecutive state titles and they did it in record-breaking fashion.

Carmel won nine events in the state meet, which is a new state record in itself. The previous record was also held by Carmel, which won eight events in 2011. Six of those wins were individual victories which put the Greyhounds tied with the 1979 Ben Davis girls' swim team for most individual wins at a state meet.

The Greyhounds also broke the state record for the most points scored at a state meet with 445 points. They set the old benchmark of 427 points at the 2009 state meet.

They broke the state record for widest margin of victory. Again, the Greyhounds held the previous record of 242.5 points which they set in 1997 when they beat Richmond. This year the Greyhounds beat out Hamilton County rival Fishers by 266 points. Fishers finished the day with 179 points.

The Greyhounds were just as prolific in the pool.

Sammie Burchill, Alex Clarke, Veronica Burchill and Amy Bilquist picked up right where they left off in the 200-yard medley relay. Last night the girls set a national record with a time of 1:40.33 in the event. They proceeded to break it again on Saturday by more than a full second coming in at 1:39.25 for another new national record.

Bilquist wasn't done breaking records though. She tied last year's state record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.15. Her teammate Kendall Smith came in second a full second behind her at 23.16. Hamilton Southeastern's Robyn Clevenger was just behind Smith with a time of 23.28.

Carmel took the top two spots in four events on Saturday but the girls swept the podium in the 100 freestyle.

Bilquist broke the state record she set on Friday with a lightning-quick time of 48.36. Smith trailed behind her coming in at 50.63 and freshman Trude Rothrock rounded out the top three just .07 seconds behind Smith.

Veronica Burchill also set a new individual state record in the pool on Saturday. She broke her own 100 butterfly record of 52.59 that she set in Friday's preliminary round with a time of 52.26. Her teammate Peyton Mosbaugh finished in eighth place with a time of 55.69.

The team of Veronica Burchill, Claire Adams, Smith and Rothrock also eclipsed last year's record in the 200 freestyle relay. They finished with a time of 1:30.72 which was nearly four seconds faster than second-place Crown Point.

The HSE relay team of Clevenger, Allison Barnes, Kylie Sutherlin and Sydney Knurek finished fourth in the event with a time of 1:35.01. HSE finished the meet in seventh place with a total score of 106 points.

The Greyhounds went out in style and shattered yet another state record in the 400 freestyle relay.

The Greyhounds finished the relay in a time of 3:15.38. That time was good enough to break the national record they set the day before by nearly six seconds. The Greyhounds were so fast in the event that the second-place team, Zionsville, finished 10 seconds slower.

Claire Adams took home top honors in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She beat out teammate Emma Nordin in the freestyle with a time of 1:45.78. Nordin finished at 1:47.63. Fishers' Lauryn Parrish clocked in at fifth place with a time of 1:48.87.

Adams beat Sammie Burchill in the 100 backstroke to grab her second individual title of the day. Adams came in at 52.14 just a tenths of a second off her record-setting time from Friday.

Nordin won the grueling 500 freestyle with a time of 4:45.87. She fell behind early to Crown Point's Hannah Kukurugya but surged past her late to grab the title.

However, winning another swimming state championship is nothing new to the Carmel swim team or its head coach Chris Plumb.

The coach was ecstatic that his girls were able to capture another state title but was more impressed in the way they handled themselves during the meet.

"It's a tribute to them to go through the whole process and come out with class and character," he said. "That's probably what we're more proud of than the victory today, just how well they handled themselves."

Before coach Plumb jumped into the pool with his team he hinted at what he does to keep the team motivated year after year.

"First of all, it's constant and never-ending improvement," he stated. "Always look for ways to get better, don't ever be satisfied with where you're at there is always something to improve."

"Number two, if you're a junior coming in or a senior you've only won three (state championships)," he continued. "You want to get that fourth, you know how to do it, you've been shown the way and it's just about executing on game day."

The Greyhounds 29th team title tied the mark set by Punahou High School's boys' swimming and diving team from 1958-86. It was the 30th state championship for the program and the ninth under coach Plumb, which ties him with former Greyhounds coach Tony Young.

Not all the state records were broken by Carmel swimmers on Saturday. Hamilton Heights' diver Brooke Schultz also set a new state record with a total score of 563.65.

Last year's world junior champion on the 1-meter board left all the other divers in the dust. Lawrence North's Morgan Meixner was the next closet finisher with a score of 508.15.

The win by Schultz gives Hamilton Heights their first girls' state championship in school history. Schultz was more than happy to take home the school's first girls' state title.

"It's really exciting," she said. "It's been a long season and I'm glad I ended it on a high note."