The Mercer Island Islanders gymnastics team is striving to advance to the district competition as a team this February. Photo courtesy of Debra Gibbs

The Mercer Island Islanders gymnastics team is striving to advance to the district competition as a team this February. Photo courtesy of Debra Gibbs

Legendary coach Lewis is enjoying his final season leading the Islanders

Mercer Island gymnastics coach is confident in his team’s abilities.

Longtime Mercer Island resident Lenny Lewis is the epitome of a gymnastics guru.

Lewis, who has been the head coach of the Mercer Island Islanders girls gymnastics team since 1989, is in his final season of coaching this season with the Islanders. Lewis sold his Mercer Island home in November of 2018 and plans on relocating to New Mexico at some point in 2019. Lewis retired from Boeing after 26 years in 2018.

Lewis is confident his squad has the talent to make its presence felt in postseason action this February.

“We are hoping to make it to districts as a team. There is another three teams in our league that have just a good of a chance as we have. It all depends on how healthy we are going into (KingCo) competition,” Lewis said. “We’re all equally talented. It will be really close.”

The competition the Islanders have faced in the 2A/3A league during the 2018-19 season has been intense thus far. The Islanders have an overall record of 2-2 in regular season action thus far.

“We’ve had a really good season. I’ve felt we’ve improved almost 15 to 20 points (per meet) but so have the other teams. All of our meets have been really close. We’re looking forward to KingCo (tournament),” Lewis said.

Lewis, who will turn 62 this March, said he has the fondest of memories coaching on Mercer Island.

“It is really sad and it is tough to leave. I have been coaching gymnastics on the island for more than half of my life. It is tough to go but it is time,” Lewis said. “We are going to be moving down to New Mexico. That is where I was born and raised until my family moved up here (Mercer Island).”

Lewis began his coaching career on Mercer Island as a volunteer coach in 1980. It didn’t take long for his coaching skills to get noticed by the Mercer Island community.

“In 1983 it was the first year they actually hired me as an assistant coach. That was just one of many years I was on the payroll,” Lewis said with a chuckle. “I never left and was part of the gymnastics scene on the island ever since.”

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