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What’s in the water? 2 Carmel swimmers head to Olympics for the 1st time

Carmel Swim Club has eight athletes and alumni competing in this year’s trials - two of them have already clinched a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

CARMEL, Ind. — We’ve seen so many talented swimmers from Indiana competing during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. It's got us wondering, what's in the water in Indiana as the state is turning out highly competitive swimmers left and right. 

Carmel Swim Club has eight athletes and alumni competing in this year’s trials.  

On Tuesday, history was made with two Carmel swimmers making it onto Team USA, a first for the club.  

“To finally have it and two in the same night is just absolutely insane. I just can’t believe that it’s happening,” said Chris Plumb, CEO and head coach for Carmel Swim Club.  

Drew Kibler finished third in the men's 200 freestyle Tuesday with a time of 1:45.92. Kibler's time, his personal best, ensures he'll be part of the United States' 4x200-meter freestyle relay team in Tokyo.  

Later that night, Jake Mitchell swam a 400-meter freestyle time trial with no one else in the pool. While he finished second in the event finals, his time wasn't fast enough to meet the Olympic standard.  

Credit: AP
Drew Kibler checks his time after competing in a men's 100-meter freestyle semifinal during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Monday, June 14, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

As Mitchell reached for the wall to finish the trial, the crowd in Omaha roared as his time showed on the scoreboard - 3:45.86 - fast enough to earn his spot on the Olympic team.  

Kibler and Mitchell were teammates and friends from high school.  

“For me to see the camaraderie and relationship they share and help guide these young people to that, is just truly special,” Plumb said.  

Carmel Swim Club started almost 50 years ago. So you can say it’s a dream that’s been decades in the making.  

“I know it seems like an overnight success, but it’s step-by-step,” Plumb said.  

Seeing these athletes compete in Omaha is also inspiring young swimmers back home.  

“Allowing people to see that kids who grew up where they are growing up, who have the same opportunities they do, to know they can chase their goals and race on the world stage…it’s very exciting,” said Maggie Mestrich, director of business development for Carmel Swim Club. 

RELATED: Carmel's Kibler, Mitchell qualify for Tokyo Games; IU's Lilly King dominant in 100m breaststroke

At the club, she said it's not just about swimming, it’s also about building character by teaching courage and perseverance.  

“They happen to be athletes as we are working with them, but we are working on their character and we are working on making sure they know they can go and chase their dreams as far as they want to,” Mestrich said.  

The club is building a new pool for the Carmel Swim Academy that will help grow its community-based programming. Their goal is to inspire more kids to learn how to swim, whether it's for fun or competition. 

To find out how to get involved, click here.