The Carmel Swim Club has produced a plethora of elite talent, and it looks like a new star has developed for the team based in Carmel, Indiana. While Amy Bilquist might be the biggest name from Carmel over the last two years or so, Claire Adams has certainly put up some eye-catching times in her young career, and tonight’s 100 backstroke final at the U.S. National Championships saw her swim the best race of her life.
Adams is a very good 100-200 freestyler, but she is an even better 100-200 backstroker. The 17-year-old goes 51.99 in SCY in the 100 back, and she was really able to convert to long course, which is a big problem for a lot of young American swimmers used to swimming SCY for most of their lives as they develop their skills. Adams swam a 59.58 tonight, which eclipsed the old World Junior record of 59.78 set in 2014 by Russia’s Daria Ustinova.
Prelims: 29.30/30.78 = 1:00.08
Finals: 29.26/30.32 = 59.58
Her personal best coming into this meet was a very respectable 1:01.12, but she blew that out of the water in prelims with her swim of 1:00.08. Adams thrived in the intense atmosphere of a finals session at a U.S. National Championship, pushing her 2nd 50 very hard for a huge new personal best as well as the new World Junior record, which she bettered by two tenths.
This swim puts Adams as the 9th fastest female 100 backstroker in the world this year, as well as the third fastest American behind only Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin, two of the biggest names in the history of swimming. Her time would have also placed 6th in the final of the World Champs, right behind 5th place finisher Franklin.
Adams has put herself on a growing list of young Americans (especially in the women’s 100 back) who will look to add new blood to a stagnating American national team as Rio is less than a year away. She’ll also swim in the 200 back later in the meet, among other events.