Mercer Island High School’s girls swimming and diving team has a new stellar swimmer on board in the form of Alexa McDevitt.
The sophomore is now part of the Island crew — which was 3-0 at press time — after competing last season for 3A state champion Bainbridge High School. McDevitt, who placed first on the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays at the 2021 state meet, has already notched four state-qualifying times during her inaugural campaign with the Islanders.
McDevitt’s personal records in her state-qualifying events are 4:55.70 in the 500-yard freestyle; 2:02.92 in the 200-yard individual medley; 1:49.05 in the 200-yard freestyle; and 52.02 in the 100-yard freestyle. She took second in the 200 free and third in the 500 free at last year’s state meet.
While relaxing before team pictures and training on a recent afternoon at the Mary Wayte Pool, McDevitt noted about the change of high schools: “It’s actually been a super easy transition. The swimming community’s so tight knit. I already know a bunch of the girls swimming here and I knew a bunch of the girls on the club team.”
While competing for the Bellevue Club swim team at the USA Swimming Futures Championship in Santa Clara, California, in July, she notched a second-place 400 free time of 4:20.09 to earn a selection to the USA Swimming National Select Camp on Oct. 6-9 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Only 48 of the top national athletes (24 girls and 24 boys) are selected each year and many of them advance to compete for the USA Junior National or National teams, according to Evan Moline, one of the club’s coaches.
Over at Mercer Island, McDevitt feels they’ve got a solid team on their hands and is looking forward to seeing what transpires this fall.
McDevitt enjoys head coach Chauntelle Johnson’s team-emphasis approach that unites the entire squad.
“It is an individual sport, but we all practice together, we do the meets together. Cheering is very important, so when you’re not swimming and you’re not cooling down, you are watching your teammates and you’re cheering for them and you’re putting all your energy into making sure that they’re having a good meet, too,” McDevitt said.
She is drawn to her fellow swimmers at both high school and club meets and thrives on the healthy competition where everyone supports and pushes each other to do their best.
The Reporter asked McDevitt a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
Do you have a hidden talent that maybe somebody wouldn’t know about?
This is kind of related to swimming: I can blow bubble rings. Not everyone can do that.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Sue Bird is my all-time favorite. She’s really just pushed the envelope for women in sports, and her activism. It just really inspired me and also since she’s from Seattle, I’ve just found her really interesting. She’s so unafraid to speak for what she believes in, and I’ve always strived to be like that and I hope someday I’ll be able to get a platform where I can do some similar things.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“The Sound of Music,” I’ve watched it probably 15 times. My parents showed it to me when I was little and it’s been a favorite ever since.
What’s a skill that you would like to learn?
I’ve always really wanted to learn sign language.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people walk slowly in front of me, like in the hallways. I’ve got places to be, man, I’d like to get going.
If you’re having a bad day, how do you break out of that?
I really like listening to music and taking long showers, like self-care. It’s easy to get all caught up in this, and we swim so much and then I have school and it gets to be a cycle, but sometimes it’s really nice to just take a second and relax.