Sports

Mercer Island juggernaut

Murray Longbotham, 200-yard Medley Relay... at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Island last Tuesday, December 4, 2007. -
Murray Longbotham, 200-yard Medley Relay... at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Island last Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
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There isn’t a team in the state that wants to face the Mercer Island boys swim team. Last week’s results didn’t help that fact. The Islanders crushed the second-place team from the 2006 state swim meet, Kennedy High School, 135-35 during a double dual-meet at Mary Wayte Pool on Dec. 4.

“They are a team built for the championship meet, not a dual meet,” said Mercer Island coach Jeff Lowell.

Islander Taylor Seidel proved that even during a blowout there are goals to be met. He came away with one of the most impressive individual swims of the meet, racing to a personal best in the 200-yard freestyle 1:59.48. The time was one one-hundredths of a second away from earning a state qualifying time.

“He dove in and just went for it,” said Lowell. “He will get it before the end of the season.”

The Islanders took first place in seven of the 12 events during the meet. But even more impressive was the fact that no swimmer won more than one individual event.

“[Kennedy] pretty much had the same crew from last year,” said Lowell, referencing the state meet which the Islanders won last year by over 100 points. “We switched up a few relays, but not much has changed.”

Mercer Island’s dual meet against Sammamish was even more lopsided as Mercer Island won 142-33. Sammamish, swimming with less than 10 athletes, gave it their all and Mercer Island showed their in-league rival the respect they deserved, cheering for their opponents’ efforts. But Mercer Island’s power and dominance was evident on the scoreboard. Mercer Island won all but one event during the meet, but even more impressive was the fact that no swimmer won more than one individual event.

“I turned the scoreboard off so that they would think about racing and not their times or placing,” said Lowell.

The trademark depth of the Islanders continues to push the team even in practice.

“We get our best competition this year at practice,” said Lowell.

The coach admitted that he has a delicate balance to work this season between making sure his team doesn’t get complacent and not embarrassing other squads.

“We just have to find ways to push ourselves,” said Lowell. “But the other swimmers we compete against are giving it their all, and we have to respect that.”

Mercer Island will travel to Boehm Pool to face Issaquah at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. One team that might be able to put up some points against Mercer Island is Mount Rainier, which the Islanders will face next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Mary Wayte Pool prior to the winter break.

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