2015 High School Team of the Year: Carmel High School Girls (Carmel, IN)
The Carmel girls absolutely dominated the 2015 IHSAA Girls State Championships, and it’s not like it was anything new. They’ve won 30 state titles in total (girls swimming at the HS level was instated in 1974 in Indiana, so they’ve won titles for roughly 3/4 of the history of Indiana girls’ swimming) and this was their 29th straight title in 2015.
This team has speed everywhere, as they were led by (now former) World Junior Record holder Claire Adams and top-flight sprinters Amy Bilquist and Veronica Burchill. Adams is committed to swim for Texas, Bilquist is a freshman at Cal, and Burchill has committed to Georgia. They are VERY legit. In 2014, Carmel was the first high school team to ever break all three national HS relay records, and they did it again this year. They won nine of the eleven swimming events this past season at state, and also trounced every state record save for the 100 breast, 200 IM, and– no, wait, that’s it. Need I italicize anything else to get the point across? These girls are incredible.
What’s even scarier is how well their other swimmers fared at the meet this past season, and how little recognition they’ve received due to how fast their big guns went. Emma Nordin, a junior at Carmel this year, broke 1:47 in the 200 free prelims and then finished up 2nd behind Adams in finals, adding a win in the 500 free with a state record in prelims. Kendall Smith was runner-up in the 50 and 100 free, nearly breaking 23 seconds in the former, while Sammie Burchill, Veronica’s younger sister, took U.S. Winter National champ Lilly King to the last 5 yards in her runner-up efforts in the 200 IM. She broke 2 minutes in that race, and added a 2nd place finish behind Adams in the 100 back at 54.35. Carmel impresses year after year, and this year they really blew away any sort of competition.
In no particular order
- Madison Memorial Boys (Wisconsin): Madison Memorial won its 5th straight Wisconsin D1 title, scoring 350.5 points which marked the 2nd highest score in Wisconsin D1 history. Justin Temprano won the 100 back, Ben Gebhart the 100 fly, and Alex Peterson-Weber tied for the 50 free title. Furthermore, Madison Memorial topped the field in both the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. In the latter, they broke a D1 state record that was set in 2005 by their own team.
- Sacred Heart Girls (Kentucky): En route to their third straight team title, the Valkyries steamrolled their way to 8 wins out of 12 possible events. They were led by a nucleus which is becoming well known in the U.S. junior ranks: Kennedy Lohman and Brooke Forde both competed for the American World Jr Champs squad, and the names Asia Seidt, Brooke Bauer and Leah Stevens round out five standouts who also compete together on the Lakeside Swim Team. Lohman, Forde, Stevens, and Seidt each scored an individual win along with diver Erin Duffey, while they swept the three relays. The Valkyries scored 486 points, crushing the competition as the only team to push past 300 in the state.
- Southlake Carroll Boys (Texas): Winning the Texas 6A Championships for their fifth year in a row, the Southlake Carroll boys were led by Carson Klein, who was a double champion after taking both the 200 and 500 freestyle races. Freshman Jack LeVant scored in the top 8 in both the 50 free and 100 fly while lending his hand to two of the Dragons’ top-5 relays. In addition, Nathaniel Hernandez took top honors in 1-meter diving.
- Fossil Ridge Boys (Colorado): Fossil Ridge had only one individual champion last season in freshman Danny Kovac (100 back). They also took the 200 free relay by a single hundredth and finished in the top 8 in a host of other events. But it wasn’t about decimating the competition, or preserving a historic title streak for Fossil Ridge; this would mark only the 2nd time that Regis Jesuit would be upended in 21 years, and it came at the hands of Fossil Ridge. The team capped off a perfect dual, invitational, and conference season with their title.