2020 HIGH SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR: Carmel High School (IN) Boys
For the first time since 2015, SwimSwam’s high school team of the year is a boys program. Reaching back five years, only girls teams have won this award. Perhaps that’s a product of how many high school girls can put up college-level times in a given year, where those eye-popping, NCAA-scoring-level swims are much more rare on the boys side. Either way, this year’s Carmel High School boys truly earned the honor.
Carmel won its 6th-straight Indiana state title on the boys side in February, nearly scoring more points than the second- and third-place teams combined. Head coach Chris Plumb became the most decorated coach in Indiana high school swimming history.. Carmel won two of three relays, and their relay dominance wasn’t limited to just the state level.
In fact, the Carmel boys finished with the #1 time across the nation in the NISCA All-America ranks for both the 200 medley relay (1:27.94) and 400 free relay (2:56.36), coming within two-tenths of a second of the overall national record in the former. The medley was a national public high school record.
Seniors Wyatt Davis and Jake Mitchell were the kingpins. Mitchell finished the 2019-2020 school year atop the national ranks in the 200 free (1:34.05) and 500 free (4:14.68), setting a national public high school record in the 500. Davis, meanwhile, led the 100 back (45.80) and was second in the 200 IM (1:44.17).
Other Carmel swimmers ranked in the top 100 nationally, per the 2019-2020 NISCA All-America lists:
- Gus Rothrock: 12th in 200 IM (1:47.65) & 52nd in the 100 fly (49.05)
- Griffin Hadley: 38th in the 100 free (44.81) & 22nd in the 100 back (48.77)
- Ryan Malicki: 21st in the 100 breast (54.92)
Davis, Malicki, Hadley and Mitchell made up that top-ranked medley relay. Mitchell, Rothrock, Hadley and Davis were on the top-ranked 400 free relay, which led all other relays on the list by almost three full seconds. Even in the relay without their star seniors, the combo of Brandon Edwards, Malicki, William Kok, and Rothrock went 1:24.52 to sit 43rd in the national All-America rankings.
In no particular order:
- Harpeth Hall (TN) girls – Harpeth Hall had an elite team led by sisters Alex and Gretchen Walsh. Senior Alex was second on the NISCA All-America lists in both the 200 free (1:45.19) and 100 back (51.35). Junior Gretchen broke overall national high school records with the nation’s top time in the 50 free (21.59) and 100 free (46.98). Meanwhile the 200 medley relay of Ava Claire Williams, Alex Walsh, Alex Massey and Gretchen Walsh led the nation at 1:40.02 and the 400 free relay of Lexi Stewart, Massey, Alex Walsh and Gretchen Walsh went 3:20.81 to lead the national ranks.
- Sacred Heart (KY) girls – Sacred Heart didn’t have the individual record-smasher that Harpeth Hall did, but showed impressive high-end depth. Sacred Heart won their 8th-straight girls title in Kentucky, scoring 503 points – second place scored just 159. Their 200 medley relay (1:40.43) was third nationally, as was their 400 free relay (3:22.93). Junior Annabel Crush (1:57.57 in the 200 IM for 5th, 52.95 in 100 back for 7th) ranked inside the top 10 on NISCA’s lists in both her events, leading a crowd of Sacred Heart swimmers. Senior Claire Donan ranked 16th in the 100 breast (1:01.61) and 15th in the 200 IM (1:59.14), and senior Emily Lenihan was 27th in the 100 fly (54.18) and 23rd in the 100 back (54.00).