BY CAROL GULLSTAD
The Mercer Island High School boys’ water polo team ended its first week of practice with a tradition — the Lake Washington Swim and Run.
A sun-drenched Mt. Rainier stood as the backdrop for the Friday morning event.
Decked in their Speedos and swim caps, the team departed Mercer Island’s western shore and swam across Lake Washington to Seattle along the west Interstate 90 bridge corridor accompanied by a flotilla of paddle boards, boats, jet skis and kayaks.
The team returned by running along the I-90 eastbound bridge trail, creating quite a stir.
Friday morning’s radio traffic broadcast reported a “slowdown across westbound I-90 due to a group of young men in Speedos running eastbound.”
Head coach Calvin White said, “The I-90 lake swim and run is a great tradition that dates back to the early 2000s. The athletes work extremely hard the first week of practice to teach them that during a game or a workout they can go farther and push a bit more. We average 10,000 yards of swimming a day and then have one hour of hard dry land in the middle of day. The dry land involves some running of stairs but mostly core work and lots of up downs, burpies and cardio work.”
White said that polo alumni have said the event is “one of the their fondest memories — it’s an amazing tradition and bonding experience.”
The Islanders regular season begins Sept. 9.