Alex Shackell is an American junior swimmer. Shackell excelled at the junior level before making waves after qualifying for the U.S. World Championships roster at just 16.
High School/Junior Swimming
At just 14, Shackell qualified for the 1st Wave of the 2020(1) Olympic Team Trials with a 1:00.63 in the 100 fly. There, she finished 23rd with a 1:01.48.
At the 2021 Winter Juniors, Shackell competed at the east site. Shackell, alongside her Carmel Swim Club teammates, set a new Winter Juniors meet record in the 200 medley relay. Shackell split 23.47 as they won with a decisive 1:37.60. That same night, she led the Carmel 800 free relay off in a new best time of 1:46.37.
In the 200 IM, she placed 2nd in 1:57.78. Next, she took home another silver with a 22.34 in the 50 free, losing by just .02. Carmel won the 400 medley at the end of the session and broke the meet record and NAG record with a 3:33.88. Shackell split 51.97 on fly at the end of her triple.
She posted a 51.22 100 fly the next night to rank her #2 all-time for 15-16-year-olds. Later, Shackell came in 5th with a 49.07 in the 100 free, 20th all-time for 15-year-olds. She put up a 1:54.26 200 fly to win, #9 all-time in the 15-16 girls age group. To wrap her night, she split 48.65 to anchor the winning Carmel 400 free relay.
She helped coach Chris Plumb, who is also her club coach, extend Carmel High Shcool’s national record 36-straight Indiana High School State Championships. She won the 100 fly in 51.71, a state record. She also took 2nd in the 50 free with a 22.48. She split 23.38 on the 200 medley relay and 49.28 to anchor the victorious 400 free relay.
Shackell lit it up at the 2022 Indianapolis Sectionals. She posted a 25.76 in the 50 free. She had a stunning 100 fly. Her 58.88 won the event. Just 15, Shackell’s time ranked her #10 all-time in the 15-16 NAG rankings. She wrapped her meet with another personal best courtesy of the 200 fly. She took 3rd with a 2:11.98
At the Indy Spring Cup in late May, Shackell posted personal bests in the two events she swam: 100 free (55.95) and 200 IM (2:18.71). About a month later at the Erik Namesnik Memorial Open, she neared her best times in multiple of her best events. She was 58.91/2:11.19 in her 100/200 fly, 26.02/56.31 in her 50/100 free, and posted a new best time of 2:15.98 in the 200 IM. Then, at Indiana Senior Championships she showed off her versatility with a 1:01.18 100 back best time.
At summer Juniors, she posted a new best in the 200 fly (2:09.44) to break 2:10 for the first time and win the event, another in the 100 free (55.38) for 3rd, yet another in the 100 fly (58.33) for 1st, and one final best in the 200 free (2:01.21) for 9th. The 100 fly was a new meet record.
Shackell “popped off” the 2022 Winter Juniors. First, the Carmel team broke the meet record in the 200 medley relay with a 1:36.48. Shackell split a 22.83. In the same session, Shackell was 1:43.60 leading the Carmel 800 free relay.
In the 50 free, Shackell put up a stunning 21.87 in prelims and a better 21.73 to win the #2 in the 15-16 NAG, but only after she won the 200 IM an event before in 1:54.54, the #6 time in the 15-16 NAG. Shackell made it 3 wins in the session as the Carmel team won the 400 Medley relay in 3:33.48. Shackell split 50.94 on fly.
Shackell led in the 100 fly with a huge 50.97. The swim was #2 in the 15-16 NAG. Shackell added .03 in the finals but was able to hold Summer McIntosh off by .1 seconds with a 51.00. Shackell then led Carmel’s winning 200 free relay in 22.02. Shackell led the 100 free a 47.80 in prelims. In the 200 fly prelim, she put up a 1:54.92 to sit .21 back from McIntosh. It was all Shackell in the 100 free as she roared to a 47.44, the #2 time in 15-16 NAG. Shackell kept close to McIntosh on the first 100 for the 200 fly but faded. Shackell’s 1:53.52 was still good for 2nd behind McIntosh’s 1:51.40. Shackell wrapped the session with a 47.28 anchor on Carmel’s 2nd place 400 free relay.
Shifting her focus to high school, Shackell posted a 22.93/50.00 50/100 free double in a double dual meet.
At the CSC Winter Invitational, Shackell swam some “off” events. She posted a 4:47.06 500 free, a 1:54.86 200 back, and a 2:15.75 200 breast. In her primary events, she put up 22.26 50 free, a 51.29 100 fly, a 1:55.83 200 fly, and a 1:55.58 200 IM.
A week out for the high school state meet, the Carmel team of Berit Berglund (25.32), Molly Sweeney (28.03), Shackell (23.37), and Meghan Christman (22.54) combined for a 1:39.26 200 medley relay to put the state record of 1:38.55 on watch. Shackell won the 50 free (22.42) and 100 fly (52.04) at this high school sectional meet.
The team of Berglund (24.27), Sweeney (27.44), Shackell (23.21), and Lucy Enoch (23.59) posted 1:38.51 to break the state record in the 200 medley relay with a 1:38.51 in prelims. Shackell also broke 2 state records in prelims with a 22.05 50 free and a 51.16 100 fly.
In the finals, Bergland (24.36), Sweeney (27.36), Shackell (22.74), and Christman (22.42) obliterated the National HS Record by over a second with a 1:36.98. Shackell then broke her own record with a 21.93 50 free and a 50.89 100 fly. The 100 fly was a personal best. Carmel struck again as they broke the national HS record in the 200 free relay set by Carmel back in 2015 with a 1:30.23. Shackell split 21.79 to serve as the difference maker.
Moving to long course at Indianapolis Sectionals, Shackell threw down a 25.25 50 free, a best time by about half a second. She led the Carmel 800 free relay in 1:59.49, another big best time. Shackell was just off her fly bests with a 58.43 and 2:10.90 in the 100/200. Shackell put up a 2:13.36 200 IM and wrapped up her meet with a huge 54.87 100 free which moves her to #11 on the all-time for 15-16 girls.
She returned to the Nat at the Indy Spring Cup. After posting a personal best time of 57.89 100 fly, the #3 in the 15-16 NAG, Shackell swam faster with a 57.63 in the final. In the 200 fly, she threw down a 2:08.68, the #6 all-time swim in the 15-16 NAG. She also blazed a 54.69 in the 100 free, the #8 15-16 time.
In mid-September 2023, Shackell announced her verbal commitment to the University of California, Berkeley. It was a huge get for Dave Durden, who had recently taken over the women’s program as Shackell was ranked #1 in the Way Too Early rankings for the class of 2025. The announcement came just hours before Claire Weinstein, the #3 recruit in the high school class of 2025, sent her verbal pledge to the Golden Bears. Shackell, the top 50/100/200 freestyler (as well as 100/200 flyer) was perfectly complimented by Weinstein, who led the class in the 500/1000/1650 freestyles. Together, the two are one of the highest-profile recruited pairs in history with both having world championship medals and might breathe life into hopes for a NCAA top-4 resurgence for the Cal women.
2021 Summer National Championships (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Shackell opened the meet with a 5th-place finish in the 200 fly (2:14.44). Then, she won the 100 fly in 59.61. The swim ranked her 3rd all-time in the 13-14 NAG rankings for girls.
2022 International Team Trials (Greensboro, North Carolina)
Shackell opened her meet by qualifying for the B final. There, she crushed a 2:10.21 for second in the final. In the 100 fly, she won the B final with a best of 58.78. Shackell was selected for the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships roster for the 100 and 200 fly alongside her brother Aaron who was also selected for the 200 fly.
2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Shackell was 3rd in the 200 fly prelims with a 2:10.30. It was Airi Mitsui who dominated the final but Shackell was able to pass most of the field. Shackell ended up 3rd in 2:09.71. In the mixed 4×100 medley relay, Daniel Diehl (53.42), Zhier Fan (1:00.76), Alex Shackell (58.55), and Anna Moesch (54.10) won in 3:46.83 and broke the meet record.
Shackell led the 100 fly prelims with a 58.56. Shackell added .02 in the finals to go 58.58 but that was good enough to hold off Mitsui (58.67) and reap gold. Shackell anchored the gold-worthy American 400 free relay of Kayla Wilson (54.78), Moesch (54.44), Erin Gemmell (54.29), and Shackell (54.48) as they took down the Aussie meet record from 2014 with a 3:37.99.
Maggie Wanezek (1:00.66), Piper Enge (1:09.30), Shackell (58.45), and Gemmell (53.73) broke the Championship Record in the 4×100 medley relay. They combined for a 4:02.14, dipping under the previous Junior Pan Pacs Record, which stood at 4:02.33. Shackell also swam the 100 free individually and placed 10th with a 55.43.
2022 FINA World Cup (Indianapolis, Indiana)
In her first-ever SCM meet, Shackell was in excellent form. She placed 3rd in the 200 fly with a 2:05.18 behind Katie Grimes (2:04.16) and Summer McIntosh (2:03.40). The next night she was 3rd in the 100 fly with a fantastic 56.63.
2023 International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Shackell opened her meet with a 2:07.95 in the 200 fly prelims. The swim earned her the 3rd seed and made her the #5 performer in the 15-16 NAG. She added to a 2:08.18 in the finals as she placed 5th. Later that night, she threw down a 54.22 in the 100 free to win the B final, another #5 NAG performance
The next day, Shackell took on the 200 free. She came in with a 2:01.21 seed for 45th although she had gone 1:59.49 at Indy Sectionals. In prelims, she threw down a 1:57.71 for 7th out of prelims, Shackell wasn’t done dropping time though. She dropped over a second to go 1:56.70 in the final, a nearly 3-second drop across the day. Her swim netted her 5th and a spot on the American team for the World Championships. She was out quick in the swim, she was 2nd at the 50 and 3rd at the 150.
Through the heats of the 100 fly, Shackell was 5th with a 57.80. In the final, she went a new best of 57.59, dropping to 6th but ranking #3 all-time in the NAG rankings, only behind Claire Curzan and Torri Huske. After just day 3, there were enough double qualifications to assure Shackell a spot on the 4×200 relay in Fukuoka, although that ended up not mattering for Shackell as Katie Ledecky dropped the 200 free from her Worlds schedule, meaning Shackell automatically qualified. Shackell’s last event was the 50 free where she placed 25th with a 25.76.
2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)
With just the 800 free relay on her schedule, Shackell got valuable international experience and performed admirably. In prelims, she split 1:56.05, the 2nd fastest split of the morning. In the final, Shackell was given the daunting task of anchoring against Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. At the 600, the US had a slim lead of .09 seconds. Shackell took a conservative dive and anchored in 1:56.38 to help the US earn silver.
–This biography was originally developed by Lucas Caswell