Sports

Endurance test is tradition for boys water polo

Members of the Mercer Island High School boys water polo team head into Lake Washington to swim across the lake and return to the Island by running across I-90. It is a team tradition. - Carol Gullstad/Special to the Reporter
Members of the Mercer Island High School boys water polo team head into Lake Washington to swim across the lake and return to the Island by running across I-90. It is a team tradition.
— image credit: Carol Gullstad/Special to the Reporter

The Mercer Island High School Boys Water Polo Team ended its first week of practice Friday with an old tradition – the Lake Swim.  The team swam across Lake Washington to Seattle paralleling I-90 and ran back across the I-90 bridge segment between Seattle and the west side of Mercer Island.

Athletes dove into the water early Friday morning to the encouragement of family, friends and the Mercer Island High School cheerleading squad. The players were accompanied across the lake by a flotilla of paddle boards, boats and kayaks.

Coaches Andrew Smith-Jones and Blake vanHartesvelt got into the action as well, swimming with the team across the channel. Head Coach Smith-Jones said, “It was a real sense of accomplishment for the team. It showed every athlete that he was well prepared to compete after the first week of practice and it was a great team bonding event. We cheered each other on and team members helped each other with the challenge.”

The athletes created quite a stir on their return run as they traversed the I-90 Bridge in their minimalist attire of running shoes, Speedos and water polo caps.

vanHartesvelt, an alumni of MIHS who played for the team during his years at the high school added, “This was a great event and team tradition. It's good to be a part of it again.”

 

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