Expectations never waver for the Mercer Island boys swim team in the pool.
During the 2016-17 season, the Islanders captured third place at the Class 3A state swim meet. Islanders swim head coach Evan Moline, who is in his second season leading the program, is confident the 2017-18 Islanders squad can perform even better this season.
“We want to win state (title). We have a lot of talent. We lost a few seniors from last year but we have at least five incoming freshman that I think are going to make an immediate impact. We also have a lot of solid athletes returning. It is going to be a great year,” Moline explained. “I think that strength in numbers is going to be really helpful in practices and meets. There will be a lot of competition, which will help team camaraderie and all that kind of stuff.”
The 24-year-old 2011 Mercer Island graduate is excited about leading the swim program at his alma-mater for the second consecutive season.
“It’s nice because it gives me a chance to give back to the program that did so much for me. It is definitely much easier because there is no transition from coming in as a new coach,” Moline said of being in his second season as head coach. “Now I know a lot of the guys from the previous season. It is easier to talk to them about what is expected and what our practices are going to look like. A lot of them have already been talking to me about what they want to achieve by the end of the season, which is cool. This team has great aspirations. Knowing them a little bit better (this season) helps me understand how I need to help them get to the point where they want to go.”
Depth across all events will be one of the Islanders’ biggest strengths during the 2017-18 season.
“We’re looking at districts and state and are going to try to get as many people as we can into those two meets. That will give ourselves the best chance of succeeding (at state meet),” Moline said. “A lot of them are going to be fighting for spots because we’re only allowed four district spots and four state spots (in each event). We will alter our lineup to make sure we get as many people as we can into the meet so we can score as many points as we can. It is going to be a tough battle. We will see how we will be able to maneuver ourselves to give it our best chance.”
Moline said seniors Oliver Hoff and Kyle Bailey are two of the most experienced athletes in the pool this season for the Islanders.
“Those guys have been to state ever year. Oliver has been big in the 200 (free) and 500 (free) every year and Kyle has been big in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke,” he said.