Cal Freshman Aaron Shackell Returning To Carmel And Taking Olympic Redshirt

The Cal men will have a slightly different look to their roster this upcoming spring as freshman Aaron Shackell will take an Olympic Redshirt.

Cal Head Coach Dave Durden confirmed to SwimSwam on Tuesday that Shackell will be returning to his home club team, Carmel Swim Club to take an Olympic Redshirt. Durden also said that Shackell would return to campus in the fall.

Durden’s full statement to SwimSwam was:

“We have had several conversations over the past year with Aaron and his parents about what this Olympic year would look like as Aaron transitioned into his freshman year in college. Training with Chris (Plumb) and Carmel was one of those options. As we are seven months away from Olympic trials and to lessen some of collegiate challenges as a freshman, we decided being at home and at Carmel would be the most familiar environment for him and his family. We continue to support him and look forward to having him back on campus in the fall.”

Shackell was the #6 ranked recruit of this fall’s incoming freshman class and was expected to be a big boost to Cal’s butterfly and mid-distance freestyle group. At the Minnesota Invitational (Cal’s mid-season meet), Shackell swam a personal best time in the 200 butterfly with a 1:43.40, which currently places him #24 in the NCAA so far this season. That was a personal best by 0.84 seconds. He also swam a 4:22.77 in the 500 free and a 1:36.76 in the 200 free.

Shackell’s best SCY times are:

  • 200 free: 1:32.85
  • 500 free: 4:15.35
  • 200 fly: 1:43.40

Shackell’s best LCM times are:

  • 200 free: 1:47.07
  • 400 free: 3:47.00
  • 200 fly: 1:55.81

In addition to being the #6 ranked recruit of his class, Shackell also held the fastest 200 freestyle time in his class. His best 200 freestyle time already would have earned him an NCAA invite this past season and would have been 0.24 seconds off of making the ‘B’ final. His 500 free personal best is also less than a second off of what it took for an invite this past spring.

In June, Shackell competed at US Nationals. There he was highlighted by a 6th place finish in the 400 freestyle and a 9th place finish in the 200 butterfly. He also finished 13th in the 200 free and 25th in prelims of the 100 butterfly. He notably swam best times in the 400 free, 200 free, and 100 fly.

Just over a month later, Shackell competed at Summer Juniors Nationals where he went on to earn the boys’ high point award. There he won the 200 free, 400 free, and 200 fly. He also was second in the 100 free and 14th in the 50 free. His 400 free winning time of 3:47.00 would have been 4th at US Nationals, less than a second off of second place and what it took to qualify for Worlds.

About a week after competing at Summer Juniors Nationals, Shackell represented the U.S. at the LEN U23 Championships in Ireland. There Shackell was highlighted by a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle, where he notably swam a personal best time in prelims. He also finished 5th in the 200 fly and swam in prelims of the 100 fly (15th) and 100 free (22nd).

The Cal men are the defending NCAA Team Champions as they scored 482 points this past March, about 50 points ahead of second-place Arizona State. Notably, Arizona State defeated Cal for the Pac-12 Conference Title this past season. The battle between the two teams is expected to be close this upcoming championship season.

Shackell is currently the only swimmer on the Cal roster to be taking an Olympic Redshirt for this season. Shackell also becomes the 21st swimmer in the NCAA to be taking a redshirt for at least part of this season.

His younger sister Alex Shackell, a member of the US World Championship team and the #1 ranked recruit in the high school class of 2025, is also verbally committed to Cal.

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Andrew
3 months ago

Username LMFAO

Phi Swimma Fasta
3 months ago

Is he allowed to train with the high school team during high school season? I believe this is an IHSAA violation. I could be wrong but I believe Shackell trained with Kibler last high school season. That may have been allowed since Kibler had already finished his college eligibility.

Indiana Swimmer
Reply to  Phi Swimma Fasta
3 months ago

Pretty sure it’s fine so long as they don’t share a lane

swimster
Reply to  Indiana Swimmer
3 months ago

enforcement?

Phi Swimma Fasta
Reply to  Phi Swimma Fasta
3 months ago

I disagree with the rule(13-1) but it states that a high school graduate cannot practice or participate with a school team or be a member of the school team during the authorized contest season.

Anyways, I am sure Carmel is well aware of the rule and conducting separate practices.

Former Cal Student
3 months ago

I wanted to transfer out after my first semester at Cal and knew people who felt similar. I was just a regular 18-year-old, living away from my parents for the first time. I didn’t have the pressure of trying to be a D1 athlete helping my team go for three consecutive titles nor did I need to deal with the intensity of trying to qualify for an Olympic team (the only opportunity until after graduating college).

As a fan and an alum, I hope he doesn’t transfer to another program. Even if he does choose another program, I want to see him succeed. His lineup seems to be in that Trenton Julian/Gabriel Jett mold so there appears to be… Read more »

oxyswim
3 months ago

Redshirt is a weird word to use when he burned a year of eligibility. At that point it’s just a gap semester and not competing.

Meeeee
3 months ago

Love that Durden has included the parents. I have had 4 kids in college swimming and the coaches at all 4 schools didn’t want to have anything to do with the parents. I get the concept of overbearing parents. But on the other hand they are the ones who know the swimmer best and raised them to the point that the college coach wanted them to swim for their team.

swimapologist
Reply to  Meeeee
3 months ago

Look friend don’t take this the wrong way because I find your posts entertaining, but if you’re anything IRL like you are in the comments, I’d either freeze you out (if your kid wasn’t like you) or not want your kid on my team (if they were).

Nothing personal…just that…you can be a lot sometimes lol. And it’s fine when you’re being a swim fan, but man when you’re a coach just trying to coach swimming…IDK I don’t think that would be the vibe I would be going for.

Anony
Reply to  swimapologist
3 months ago

Might be worth remembering who pays the bills and it’s not the kids. I’m a huge advocate for swim coaches but even if the parent is painful to deal with coaches tend to forget that. There are parents out there whose insights and inputs could help both the coaches and kids. That having been said I’m envious of you working in a job where you have the luxury of freezing or not embracing fee payers.

oxyswim
Reply to  Meeeee
3 months ago

He and Dave coached Shackell’s parents at Auburn and that relationship was a huge part of why all 3 of the kids committed. Not including them on this conversation would be dumb.

Swamtoday
Reply to  Meeeee
3 months ago

Makes you wonder if this is a subtle way of saying that this was the parents’ decision.

Seli's_my_baby
3 months ago

Best of luck to Aaron.

Swammer
3 months ago

What on Earth happened in the last 12 hours? Literally saw Braden comment that this rumor wasn’t true earlier

Swimmer
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

Coaches directly told him that the rumor was false- pretty clear they were not telling the truth

Admin
Reply to  Swimmer
3 months ago

“No validity” is the exact words they used.

Swammer
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Man they owe you an apology

Taa
Reply to  Swammer
3 months ago

He probably waited to announce until his plane landed in Indiana

Guy
3 months ago

What are the differences in Carmel and Cal training styles? Guessing Carmel is more yardage focused?

Also, his sister is supposed to be going to Cal.

Elmo’s world
Reply to  Guy
3 months ago

and his brother

Taa
Reply to  Guy
3 months ago

The other half of the story is how this affects his sister’s commitment. It has to make her think twice at least.

swimster
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

doubt it affects it at all.

stick to the plan.

Swimmom
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

Nope. Marsh will be her coach and is close with their family. She will be fine.

Taa
Reply to  Swimmom
3 months ago

Her brother is not close with the family? You would listen to some old guy swim coach before your brother? I’m listening to the what my brother says 100% he could still want to go back for all we know.

IMO
Reply to  Swimmom
3 months ago

Marsh moved to SoCal because he wanted to live in SoCal. I really don’t understand why anyone would think he will be in NoCal for 6 more years.

swimster
Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

loyalty

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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