HardCore Swim of the Week: Carmel girls fight through tough schedule for NAG, Junior National title

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When the girls of Carmel Swim Club in Carmel, Indiana put three swimmers into the A final of the 100 free on Thursday night of Junior Nationals, it became clear they’d have a pretty dominant 400 free relay.

What’s even more impressive is that, even though the relay was that same night, the girls still managed to smash the 15-18 National Age Group record despite pulling some tough doubles – and even triples – during the finals session.

The Carmel team of Rachel Hayden, Veronica Burchill, Claire Adams and Amy Bilquist went 3:44.88 to take seven tenths off the record.

The first notable point about that swim are the names they wiped off the record books. The Colorado Stars relay that originally held the record featured four current NCAA stars: California’s Kelly Naze and Caroline Piehl, Georgia’s Jordan Mattern and one Melissa Franklin, better known as Missy, the winner of 6 gold medals at the last World Championships, plus an American record-holding NCAA champ for Cal.

But scarier yet is that this Carmel relay could have been faster had they been fresher. Three of the four girls were coming off of races earlier in the night, with Adams pulling a ridiculous 200 back/100 free/400 free relay combo that clearly left her drained. In fact, all combined, the four girls had swum 9 full races on Thursday before even hitting the water for the relay.

The quartet put up some admirable times, considering the fatigue. Looking at their best overall 100 free swim at Juniors compared to their relay split (below), you’ll notice no one dropped off too drastically – still, though, there’s no doubt a fresher Carmel relay could take that record to even bigger places.

  • Hayden: best swim 57.19, relay split (lead off) 57.37
  • Burchill: best swim 55.89, relay split 56.06
  • Adams: best swim 55.89, relay split 56.23
  • Bilquist: best swim 54.85, relay split 55.22

They might not be finished with the record, either. Though Hayden is 18, and soon won’t be eligible to break NAG records, the core of the relay returns intact, as Burchill, Adams and Bilquist are all just 16 years old. If they can find a fourth (which seems likely, given Carmel’s track record in producing top-tier sprinters), they could make another run at the record next year, plus take a shot at the 17-18 record, which they already have beaten by four seconds.

The rising sprint crew at Carmel is one to watch in the future, as this group has already put together some HardCore swimming.

Coverage of the swim here.

Race video here.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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