In most communities, summer is a time for relaxing. Organized sports fall to the wayside in favor of vacations and recreation. But Mercer Island doesn’t fall into that category.
The Midlakes swim season got underway last week, marking the official start of the summer sports season.
Midlakes has changed during the seven years I have been at the Reporter. The sleepy summer swim league has become more competitive as the years have rolled on. The Shore Club has become the dominant force in the league, winning three consecutive titles under Alice Godfred. But it is starting to look like the Mercer Island Country Club and Beach Club could challenge the Shore Club not only for Island supremacy but for the league title.
I continue to be amazed at the dedication by the Beach Club coaches to their team and the younger swimmers. Grant and Erin Garcia, Tad Homchick and George Stanton began coaching the team in high school and came back during their college years. That type of dedication is rare these days. But more to the point, the guidance that they have given to so many young swimmers will benefit not only the Beach Club but the high school and the Island as a whole for years to come.
The swimming community on Mercer Island is large but tight-knit. Many of the swimmers on the summer club teams will move on to swim for the high school team with their former Midlakes “rivals.” Some will compete at the high school level and beyond in other sports. But it seems that they all come back to Midlakes in June and July during their adolescence.
This year, it will be interesting to watch the swim league. Will the Shore Club make it four in a row or will the rival from across the East Channel of Lake Washington, Edgebrook, come and take it away? Or could another Island team step up and keep the championship where it belongs, on Mercer Island?
The Midlakes meet on Thursday at the Beach Club was a testimony to the strength of the Mercer Island swimming community. I talked with kids who said that beating the other team was the most important thing, but then they went back to hanging out at the poolside with a rival swimmer.
You don’t see that happen much between high school teams or the different Midlakes teams. But that is what takes place during the summer months on Mercer Island when “rivals” get together.