Carmel High School celebrates ninth consecutive boys swimming state title

Correction: In the original version of this story, the national record time in the 200 freestyle set by Aaron Shackell was incorrect. Shackell set the record with a time of 1:32.85. 

The state finals showing for the Carmel High School boys swimming team was an emotional one.

The previous month, junior Michael Jent died from injures suffered in an automobile accident, which happened heading to swimming practice.

“It was a really challenging season with the passing of Michael,” Greyhounds coach Chris Plumb said. “This team swam for Michael. They had MJ initials on their shirts. The guys swam their hearts out for him.”

The Greyhounds captured their ninth consecutive title Feb. 25 in the IHSAA state boys swimming and diving state finals at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI. Carmel won with 363 points, more than 100 points ahead of second place Zionsville with 257.

“To win takes talent, to repeat takes character, so we’ll take it,” Plumb said., “This team really came to swim these past two days. The top-end performances were outstanding. Any time you walk out of this meet with several Ws, you feel like it was a good meet. I think the guys really had to step up (in the state finals). We peaked at the right time.”

Senior Aaron Shackell, who is headed to the University of California in Berkeley, captured the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 33.68 seconds ,and won the 500 freestyle in 4:15.35.

Shackell had set a national record in the 200 freestyle in the preliminaries with a time of 1:32.85, breaking Carson Foster’s 2019 national mark of 1:32.99. Shackell also was on the winning  200 medley relay with senior Sean Sullivan, junior Brandon Malicki and sophomore Michael Gorley.

“Aaron had a tremendous meet,” Plumb said.

Shackell was joined on the 400 freestyle relay by his brother, sophomore Andrew Shackell, and junior Gregg Enoch and senior A.J. Robertson.

Plumb said Enoch came a long way this season. Enoch finished in second in the 200 individual medley and the 500 freestyle.

Sullivan, who will swim for the University of Florida, got the Greyhounds’ other victory, winning the 100 freestyle in 44.09 seconds. It was a repeat title for Sullivan.

“I had a great year (in 2022),” he said. “Every time I went in the water, I felt amazing. Following that up is a difficult task. I don’t feel I had it (in prelims and finals). I struggled with that, and I had a great race in the 100 free, which was awesome. To finish out (with state title) No. 9 with the team was awesome.”

Sullivan said losing Jent was an unexpected tragedy.

“I felt after that day and everything following it, we were able to really come together and finish really strong,” Sullivan said.