Sports

Longtime swim coach begins new adventure

Jeff Lowell, the longtime head coach of Mercer Island High School's swim and dive teams, resigned recently to accept a position as assistant principal at Interlake High School in the Bellevue School District.

Lowell, who has been coaching on Mercer Island for the last 20 years, has helped various programs earn 11 state titles, including four consecutive wins for the MIHS boys swim team and six girls water polo state championships in the seven years that he coached the team.

"It's been a dream come true to work here on the Island," Lowell said. He began working as the swim coach at the Shore Club in 1990 before joining the MIHS staff as the boys swim coach during the 1998-99 school year. In 2001, Lowell added the girls swim team to his roster, helping them finish in the top four at state each year except the first. While racking up an impressive list of accomplishments, Lowell said that, for him, the best part is the day-to-day activity, seeing students and families in action.

"For me, the day-to-day stuff is as great as anything else. Just being able to be around that group of people, the students and their families and watching what they threw into it is the greatest accomplishment."

Lowell said the decision to move was about looking for a way to push himself and trying something new. He said he regularly tells his swimmers that sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can prove exactly what you are capable of, even if it is a little scary.

"I'm sure I could have coached forever, but would I have been the person I want to become?" he said. Lowell said he realized that he couldn't just say those words to his swimmers and students without living them himself.

"I'll be forever grateful for my time here," he said. "Eleven years have just blown by. It's been so positive, and I can't thank everyone enough."

Lowell's new position will not include coaching.

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