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Carmel swimming family gathers to support Mitchell in Tokyo

Family, coaches and teammates watched Jake Mitchell's Olympic finals race on the big screen at Carmel's Midtown Plaza.

CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel Swim Club hosted a special watch party for Jake Mitchell, who competed for gold Saturday night in the Tokyo Olympics. 

The Carmel swimmer who's going into his sophomore year at the University of Michigan didn't medal, placing 8th in the 400 Meter Freestyle finals, but for those watching at Midtown Plaza in Carmel, the performance felt more like a win.  

Mitchell is one of two Carmel Olympians competing in Tokyo - University of Texas swimmer Drew Kibler is the other. The club has been working toward the goal of placing a swimmer on an Olympic team for years.  

Head Coach Chris Plumb was able to cheer them on in person at the Olympic Trials in Omaha last month, but couldn't go to the Olympic Games. 

“To have two [swimmers make the team] in one night was an amazing experience. An explosion of pure joy and excitement, and to see it come to fruition this morning and tonight is awesome,” Plumb said. Mitchell surprised many when he advanced to the final with a lifetime-best swim Saturday morning in his preliminary heat in his Olympic debut.

Dozens of current and former Carmel athletes came to cheer on Mitchell more than 6,000 miles away. 

Michell’s parents, Mike and Tina, also joined since COVID-19 protocols kept them from attending the Games.

“I just feel like every step along the way has been amazing and we’ve been so excited, and he goes another step and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, he did it again.’ So, it’s been awesome,” Tina Mitchell said.  

They said they could not be prouder of their Olympian.  

“We are very proud. It’s almost beyond words," Mike Mitchell said. "He’s worked so hard for this, and we are just happy we got to go along for the ride. He’s a great kid in and out of the pool. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”  

Kibler will be competing on Tuesday in the 4 x 200-meter Freestyle Relay, giving the club another chance at a medal. 

The two Carmel swimmers are longtime friends, former teammates and now roommates in Tokyo. 

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