February 2021 In addition to celebrating the extraordinary dynasty of the Carmel High School girls’ swim team and its incredible 35th IHSAA Swimming and Diving Championship it clenched earlier this month, the Carmel Swim Club (CSC) has the impending groundbreaking of a new facility, the Carmel Swim Academy, to look forward to this coming April. I spoke with head coach/CEO Chris Plumb and CSC Director of Business Development Maggie Mestrich about the new facility, how it will impact the club members and staff and what it will offer the community in the way of noncompetitive programs as a whole. A Brief Overview of CSC and Carmel Swim Academy Mestrich shared that the club was established in 1973. Its mission, “teaching excellence through swimming, for life,” will be expanded upon with the completion of the new facility, located adjacent to the existing Carmel Total Fitness gym in Carmel. CSC currently provides swim lessons to more than 3,000 children annually–– renting space across the city to accommodate the growing program. The Carmel Swim Academy is designed to provide a doorway to water safety that introduces whole families to lifelong self-improvement, wellness and success. Carmel Swim Academy will feature a 25-yard, six-lane training pool with zero-entry instructional space and a comfortable pool deck for dryland activities. Carmel Swim Academy will boast warm water and offer a mezzanine to optimize viewing of swim lessons, as well as family-friendly locker rooms. A Community Asset Plumb shared that a facility like the one that is about to commence construction this spring has been a dream of the CSC’s for a long time. “We’ve wanted to reach a greater population of our community and provide a greater service and save lives doing it,” Plumb expressed. “This has been a dream of ours for the past 15 years, and we’re finally able to bring it to a physical reality over the next year or so. For us, it’s about being able to reach more people—especially younger people in our community—and teach them to be water safe and how to love and enjoy the water. Swimming is a lifelong sport, but if you don’t know how to when you’re younger, it gets harder when you’re older.” Currently, CSC’s existing group swimming lesson programs are conducted at the PrimeLife Enrichment Center and Carmel High School. These programs will continue at this location throughout the construction process. “We’re going to be a community asset in the way that we will be able to be open mornings, afternoons and nights,” Plumb said. “Carmel Swim Academy will be in connection to Carmel Total Fitness, so it’s going to be conducive for people to have their child in a swim lesson and then go get a workout in right next door. It’s going to provide a lot of opportunities for aquatic awareness and aquatic fitness for the community of Carmel.” Competitive Swimming Is a Tradition of Excellence in Carmel The Carmel High School girls’ swim team is a nationally recognized team, not to slight the boys’ team, which is also recognized for its remarkable successes. So, while the Carmel Swim Academy is not being built for the sole purpose of supporting these outstanding teams, CSC is looking forward to the teams training and competing at the new facility in the near future. “I feel the streak of 35 years demonstrates what happens when young women get together and work together for a cause greater than themselves,” Plumb stated. “It demonstrates the power that young women have when they unite and do it athletically and consistently over time. We’re talking generations now of these young women—now we have daughters of women who were competing in the ’80s, and it just amazes me.” While the lessons of sportsmanship, teamwork, accountability, discipline and integrity are important to developing young swimmers, Plumb expressed that the support of the city and the entire community has been a key component to the Carmel High School swim teams’ success. Plumb continued, “We have a community that really gets behind our young athletes, and we need to continue to empower our young guys and girls. That support just speaks to the excellence of our community.” Mestrich added, “CSC works within the framework of 10 core values, and we’re really working hard to engage our youngest swimmers with those values. What does accountability mean? What does integrity mean? We have those broader conversations with our swimmers because we believe the sport of swimming is a wonderful vehicle for us to develop great young men and women. Consistency and results don’t happen without constant innovation and inspiration. In addition to Chris’ leadership, building this new facility is one more way to innovate and grow for the future.” How You Can Help Be a Part of CSC’s Progress Carmel Swim Academy is actively fundraising to support capital costs for construction and initial operations. However, the pool will be fully self-sustaining through programming fees. “We are trying to raise $1.5 million to get this done,” Mestrich shared. “So, we need some community support, and we have a very passionate community that is excited to see this project happening, but we need some help to get there. We’re looking to break ground in April, and while we’re somewhat subject to delays that can happen with construction, we should be open by early next year.” Key partners include GEA Architects, Summit Construction, The Veridus Group and BK Real Estate Ventures. A groundbreaking event, held at 820 East City Center Drive, is anticipated in April. For more information on the Carmel Swim Academy or to donate, please visit carmelswimacademy.org. And be sure to follow Carmel Swim Academy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates!