Carmel High School did pretty well at the 2015 Indiana High School Girls’ State Championship meet, but how good was this year’s team? This year was their 30th total state championship title and their 29th consecutive. A lot of people have been throwing out stats, making claims like “they would be top 15 finishers at the NCAA Championships”. It is too hard to make that comparison, seeing that the meet format and events are different, but I will make the claim that I believe they are the best high school team in history.
What amazes me when I look at their line-up from the state championships last weekend is that they didn’t field their best relay line-ups and still broke every national record. Claire Adams, their top backstroke was left off the 200 medley relay and Amy Bilquist, their sprint freestyler, was left off the 200 freestyle relay. The only swimmer that swam all three relays was Veronica Burchill. Burchill was a huge contributor to the team, splitting 23.31 in the butterfly leg of the medley, and leading off the freestyle relays in 22.29 and 48.48. Just imagine if they would have put Burchill, Adams, and Bilquist on all three relays; each of their relays could have been at least a second or two faster.
Carmel is the only High School girls team that has ever broken all three national HS relay records in one meet, and they’ve done it twice. Last year, they did it for the first time at the state championships, and this year they were able to do it again. The number of things that this team has done to separate themselves from the rest of the state and country is unbelievable.
Women’s swimming at the high school level was added in Indiana in 1974. Since then there have been 41 girls high school state championships. 73% of the Indiana State Championships have been won by Carmel.
Over the course of the two-day meet, 15 state records were broken. 13 of the 15 records were broken by Carmel Swimmers.
- 200 Medley Relay Prelims – 1:40.33 (National HS Record)
- 200 Freestyle Prelims – Emma Nordin – 1:46.78
- 200 Freestyle Prelims – Claire Adams – 1:45.09
- 100 Butterfly Prelims – Veronica Burchill – 52.59
- 100 Freestyle Prelims – Amy Bilquist – 48.67
- 500 Freestyle Prelims – Emma Nordin – 4:45.15
- 100 Backstroke Prelims – Claire Adams – 51.99
- 200 Medley Relay Finals – 1:39.25 (National HS Record)
- 50 Freestyle Finals – Amy Bilquist – 22.15
- 100 Butterfly Finals – Veronica Burchill – 52.26
- 100 Freestyle Prelims – Amy Bilquist – 48.36
- 200 Freestyle Relay Finals – 1:30.72 (National HS Record)
- 400 Freestyle Relay Finals – 3:15.38 (National HS Record)
There were a few other records that Carmel High School broke as well. At the final session on Saturday, the team won 9 of the 11 swimming events. That is the biggest number of individual wins from a single team in state history. That would be comparable to Cal Berkeley or Georgia winning 13 of the 16 swimming events at the NCAA Championships; it just doesn’t happen. The next record I would like to point out is that they are now tied with Honolulu Punahou’s Boys Swim Team for the most consecutive state championships of any sport, gender, or from any state. Their streak started in 1958 and ended in 1986. Below is a full list of the longest consecutive state championship streaks.
State Championship Record Streaks
Longest streaks of consecutive state championships, all sports, all states.
29: Carmel, Ind., girls swimming, 1986‐2015.*
29: Honolulu Punahou, Hawaii, boys swimming, 1958‐86.
27: Bolles, Jacksonville, Fla. boys swimming, 1988‐2014.*
27: Pickford, Mich., boys track and field, 1952‐78.
26: St. Xavier, Louisville, Ky., boys swimming, 1989‐2014.*
26: Woonsocket Mt. St. Charles Academy, R.I., boys hockey, 1978‐2003.
25: Paulsboro, NJ, wrestling, 1983‐2007.
24: Bishop Hendricken, Warwick, RI, boys swimming, 1990‐2013.
24: Tacoma Wilson, Wash., boys swimming, 1960‐83.
(Source: National Federation of State High School Associations)
The next record I would like to point out is that Carmel won this years State Championship by the biggest margin in state history. They finished with 445 points and the second place team, Fishers High School, finished with 179 points.
Most Points Scored
- 2014-2015 – Carmel High School, 445 points
- 2008-2009 – Carmel High School, 427 points
- 1996-1997 – Carmel High School, 420.5 points
- 1997-1998 – Carmel High School, 419 points
- 1995-1996 – Carmel High School, 418 points
- 2013-2014 – Carmel High School, 399 points
The next record that was broken by Carmel High School was for the widest margin of victory at the state championship meet. The weirdest part about this stat is that at the four meets with the biggest margins, the second place team finished with almost the same amount of points each time.
Widest Margin of Victory
- 266 points – 2014-2015 (Carmel 445, Fishers 179)
- 242.5 points – 1996-1997 (Carmel 420.5, Richmond 178)
- 241 points – 1997-1998 (Carmel 419, Center Grove 178)
- 240 points – 1995-1996 (Carmel 418, Center Grove 178)
- 232.5 points – 2009-2010 (Carmel 419, Center Grove 186.5)
- 211 points – 1988-1989 (Carmel 335, Elkhart Central 124)
Looking back, I wish I would have been able to see them attack all three relays with their big guns, but I do respect that they wanted to swim the best line-up for the whole team. That line-up is what helped break the last two records I wrote about.
Looking across the board at all of Carmel’s events, their aren’t many high school swimmers in the country that could beat their top times. Sure there are a few swimmers that could beat them like Katie Ledekcy, Beata Nelson, or Abbey Weitzeil, but all three of those swimmers had to set national records to beat the times of the Carmel swimmers. As a team, Carmel is by far the best high school team in history. Their performance this weekend, in my opinion, proved that.