Carmel High School swimmer Aaron Shackell has made the most of a special opportunity.
Drew Kibler, a former CHS and University of Texas standout, has been training with the team the past several months.
“It’s been an amazing experience from the training to having Drew Kibler here for training and to learn from,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Kibler, who became the first Olympian from Carmel in 2021, has been training with the Carmel Swim Club for six months.
“I’ve had a drastic improvement mentally and physically,” Shackell said. “Learning so many things from him has been a blessing.”
Shackell, who will swim for the University of California at Berkeley next season, put that experience to good use in the IHSAA boys swimming and diving state finals Feb. 25 at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI.
Shackell won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 33.68 seconds. He had set a national high school record Feb. 24 in 1:32.85 in prelims. He was victorious in the 500 freestyle in 4:15.35.
In addition, Shackell was on the winning 200 freestyle relay team and the 200 medley relay.
Shackell won the 100 butterfly at the state finals as a junior but decided to switch to the 500 freestyle this year.
“I had a really good 500 at (Junior Nationals),” Shackell said. “I thought I had a chance of breaking (former CHS swimmer) Jake Mitchell’s record. It was something fun to go for.”
The Shackell family moved to Carmel from St. Louis when Aaron was a sophomore.
Shackell said this has been a fun time for the swimming family.
His sister, Alex, a sophomore, set state records in winning the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle Feb. 11 at the IHSAA girls swimming state finals. She also was on the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay that set national records in winning state titles.
“Seeing my sister dominate (at state was exciting), and my brother has improved so much in the past five months,” Aaron said.
Andrew Shackell, Alex’s twin, joined Aaron on the winning 400 freestyle relay. Andrew finished fourth in the 100 butterfly.
His parents, Nick and Ali Shackell, were swimmers at Auburn University. Nick represented Great Britain in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Aaron started swimming at age 5.
“I think what makes me so passionate is the strive to always improve and have fun,” said Aaron, who said his favorite event is the 200-meter butterfly.
Favorite athletes: Drew Kibler and Jake Mitchell
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite TV show: “Jack Ryan”
Favorite music: Classic rock