Carmel High School freshmen Alex Shackell and Lynsey Bowen became fast friends when Shackell moved from St. Louis in eighth grade.
The friends are plenty fast in the water, too, as the two freshmen each won an individual state title to help the Greyhounds capture their 36th consecutive IHSAA girls swimming and diving state championship with 461 points Feb. 12 at Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. The 36th straight titles are a national record in any high school sport. Fishers was second with 283 points.
“Alex has only been here a year, but she made me so much better. She’s like my best friend,” Bowen said.
Shackell said she and Bowen bonded quickly.
“My first practice she talked to me automatically and we just clicked from then on,” Shackell said.
Shackell set a state record in the 100-yard butterfly in 51.71.
“Getting the record as a freshman was one of my goals,” Shackell said. “This team is amazing. Having so many fast swimmers on the same team is uplifting and makes you want to go fast for them.”
Bowen won the 500 freestyle state title in 4:49.13.
“I ran a personal best in prelims (4:45.15), but that was a pretty good swim,” Bowen said. “It’s hard to swim it four times, you get pretty tired after the third time.”
Shackell said she was happy with getting second in the 50 freestyle.
The Greyhounds’ other individual champion was junior Berit Berglund, who won the 100 backstroke for the third consecutive year in 51.50, tying her own state record set in the preliminaries.
“This team has been closer than ever,” Berglund said. “I’m so grateful to race with all the girls. I’m happy with the 100 backstroke. I definitely have been faster, but there are a lot of things I can clean up for next year. I’m excited for next year, too. I had a breakthrough swim in the 100 free, so I’m happy with that (third-place finish).”
Berglund said the future is bright with the freshman standouts.
“It’s better than Christmas, in my opinion,” she said of winning state. “It’s so much fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
The Greyhounds also swept all three relays.
The 200 medley relay team of Berglund, Shackell, junior Vivian Wilson and junior Meghan Christman got the Greyhounds off to a strong start by winning in a state record of 1:38.55 in the first event of the day.
“That got the ball rolling and gave us momentum,” Berglund said
The 200 freestyle team of Christman, senior Gretchen Lueking, senior MacKenna Lieske and sophomore Grace Dougherty won in 1:32.28.
The 400 freestyle relay of Shackell, Bowen, Berglund and Lueking won in 3:19.54.
“It’s a great team that really came together,” Carmel coach Chris Plumb said. “I think it was served well by the leadership of the seniors and the youth of the freshman. It was a great combination of youthful exuberance with senior experience. The future is so bright we have to wear shades, right? Each year we want to keep getting better and we’re going to continue to live up to the legacy we created.”
Plumb said the team will miss the seniors’ work ethic.
“They’ve done an outstanding job,” he said.