Swimming Coach Chris Plumb of Carmel: Developing Dominance

Team values and personal principles


Rounding up teenagers at 6:30 in the morning six days a week, 50 weeks a year and turning them into champions, over and over again. Sounds like hard work but also tremendously satisfying for swimming coach Chris Plumb. Chris has helped produce dozens of Olympic caliber athletes at the nationally ranked Carmel Swim Club in Carmel, Indiana. He’s been with the club for over a decade and became head coach in 2006.

Carmel has won the USA Swimming Gold Medal Club of Excellence in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He is also head coach of the Carmel High School Swim Team, whose girls’ squad has won 28 consecutive state champions.

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Key topics: Team values, personal principles, sports-specific training, developing mental toughness

Chris was named Head Coach of Carmel Swim Club in July 2006, but has been with the program since 2003. As Head Coach, Chris oversees all aspects of the club, and he coaches the Senior Group. He is a dynamic leader for our organization, and works tirelessly to push Carmel to be a model club both in the state of Indiana and nationally. Chris’s execution of his vision for Carmel Swim Club has pushed us towards recognition as a USA Swimming Gold Medal Club of Excellence in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Chris brings a wealth of swimming experience to CSC. Before joining the Carmel staff, the Indiana University graduate led the Cane Aquatics Club in Coral Gables, Florida. Chris also served as Assistant Coach at the University of Miami for four years, where he was involved in all aspects of a program that ranked among the nation’s top twenty every year. He cut his coaching teeth in Indiana, as Head Coach of the Bloomington South High School Boy’s Team. In his only year at the helm, Bloomington South’s swimmers all achieved best times.

When Chris took over as Head Coach of the Carmel Swim Club, there were zero Junior National or Olympic Trials qualifiers amongst our ranks. In the six years since Chris became Head Coach that has changed drastically. Carmel proudly took 17 athletes to the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. CSC has two USA Swimming National Junior Team Members (Lauren Stauder – 2009, Harrison Wagner – 2011). At Junior Nationals in 2009, the CSC girls finished fifth and broke a 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 400 Medley Relay. In 2010 Carmel finished seventh in overall combined team scoring and the girls won the 400 Medley Relay. At the 2010 Short Course Nationals in Columbus, Ohio Carmel finished sixth in combined team scoring.

In 2011, CSC finished 12th in combined team scoring, and the girls finished eighth at Junior Nationals in Palo Alto, and Harrison Wagner was named the 18 and Under National Champion in the 50 Freestyle at Nationals. This week, as Carmel hosts Junior Nationals, 21 of Coach Plumb’s swimmers will take to the pool in the most elite 18 and under competition in our sport.

Chris is also the Head Coach at Carmel High School. He directed the 2012 Carmel Boys and Girls Swim Teams to IHSAA State Championship Titles. Coach Plumb has been at the helm for the last six of the Lady Hound’s 26 consecutive titles and this was his third consecutive title for the boys. He was inducted into the 2011 class of honorees in the Indiana Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.

Coach Plumb also devotes his time and energy to both Indiana and USA Swimming supported camps. Most recently, Chris served as the Head Coach for the Indiana Swimming Olympic Training Center camp, which 14 Carmel swimmers attended. Chris was also the Head Coach for this camp in 2009. Chris has also served as an assistant coach for USA Swimming’s National Select Camp in 2009, the Head Coach of the Eastern Zone Select Camp in 2010, an assistant at the 2006 Central Zone Select Camp, and as an assistant coach for the Indiana Central Zone Team in 2005.Under Chris’s leadership, Carmel has made an impressive impact on the state level, as well.

Coach Plumb works hard to direct the programming and curriculum of Carmel Swim Club towards a path of long-term developmental success. This was on fantastic display at the 2012 Indiana SwimFest State Championships a few weeks ago. At the SwimFest, CSC scored 3,883 combined team points. Notably, this score is higher than the total points earned by both the second and third-place finishing teams. More than 100 individual athletes contributed to the final team score, and CSC swimmers in each age group made an impact. Along the road to victory, CSC broke 11 more club records and established four new Indiana State Meet and Association Records.

Chris succeeds not just in inspiring his swimmers with his character and coaching, but also through his actions. Chris swam on relays at both the 2010 SCY and 2011 LCM USA Swimming National Championships. He embodies the mandate he gives to all Carmel swimmers: do not be afraid to dream and work towards the highest level of our sport. He works tirelessly to push Carmel Swim Club to the pinnacle of success and the way he has put his dreams and vision into reality have made this club a model for programs across the nation.

Chris lives in Carmel with his wife, Emily and sons William and Nicholas.