Carmel Greyhounds reflect on national record en route to 8th consecutive boys state swimming title

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The Carmel High School boys swim team celebrates its 8th consecutive state title. (Photo courtesy of IHSAA)

The Carmel High School boys swimming team got a huge boost at the start of the state finals.

The Greyhounds set a national high school record in the 200-yard medley relay in the first event of the Feb. 26 IHSAA state finals at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI. The relay team of junior Sean Sullivan, senior Ryan Malicki, junior Aaron Shackell and senior Christopher Holmes won in a time of 1:26.88. The Greyhounds won five more events enroute to their eighth consecutive state title. Carmel won with 381 points, second-most in state finals history, and Zionsville was second with 247.

“Breaking the national record set the tone for the afternoon,” CHS coach Chris Plumb said. “It lets the athletes in the meet and our team know that Carmel is here in full force and ready to swim. It took the entire season to determine who went where on the relay, and Friday night confirmed we finally had the right athletes in the right stroke. Sean’s leadoff also gave the rest of the group confidence.”

Plumb said the time was surprising.

“We thought we had a chance at the national record, but to beat it by a second is fantastic,” he said of the previous record of 1:27.44 set by Baylor School (Tennessee) in 2014.

The Greyhounds also swept the other two relays. The 200 freestyle relay of Holmes, senior Graham Seaver, sophomore Gregg Enoch and Sullivan won in 1:22.53.  The 400 freestyle relay of Shackell, Enoch, sophomore Brandon Malicki and Sullivan won in 2:58.11.

“The relays are huge. It is a demonstration of teamwork and the depth of your team,” Plumb said. “The individual wins are always tough. To be the best in this fast state is not an easy task, and you need to appreciate the moment.”

In individual races, Sullivan won the 100 freestyle in 44.22. He finished 11th at last year’s state meet. The other individual champions were Shackell in the 100 butterfly in 47.69 and Ryan Malicki in the 100 breaststroke in 53.89. He entered the 100 butterfly as the defending state champion.

“Ending my senior year with another team title was amazing,” Malicki said. “This year people doubted us, and I think we proved them wrong with scoring the second-most points in the history of the meet. Setting the national record in the 200 medley relay felt amazing. I was on the relay that broke the national public school record two years ago, and to break that record and the combined public and private record was very special.”

Malicki peaked at the right time, also finishing second in 200 individual medley.

“I swam a best time in the 200 IM (in prelims) and had my fastest relay splits for my legs of the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay,” he said. “I think this year I made the biggest gains in my endurance. Compared to last year, my last 50 of the 200-yard races has gotten much better.”

Malicki, who will swim for Notre Dame next season, is optimistic about Carmel’s future. 

“Obviously, we lose talent every year due to graduation, but I am very confident in the guys coming back that they will carry on our outstanding team culture and keep the winning tradition going,” said Malicki, whose brother, Brandon, will be a key returnee.