For the Mercerwood Shore Club, the third and final Midlakes meet featuring head-to-head match-ups between Island teams was more than just a friendly rivalry meet — it was about making history and finishing undefeated. The 415-291 victory over the Mercer Island Country Club clinched the fourth consecutive regular season title for the Manta Rays and extended their win streak to 23 meets.
“I am very proud of how all of our swimmers performed this season,” said Shore Club coach Alice Godfred. “I am very proud of this entire season.”
Godfred said that this season has been the toughest of the four titles. A late end to the school year, fewer swimmers and family vacations has made it difficult for all the clubs to put together consistent lineups.
“We will have some key kids missing for the championship meet and they are holes I would like not to have,” said Godfred. “But we will just try to put the best lineup out there that we can and see what happens.”
Another reason for the tougher year is the rise of other clubs such as the Country Club.
“The other teams are really improving,” said Shorewood assistant coach Daniel Seetin.
The Country Club has seen a rise in attendance and has filled out the high age brackets under aquatics director and head coach Chris Simpson.
“This year we are at full strength for the first time,” said Simpson. “When I started, we didn’t have any older kids and now all those younger kids have moved up.”
Simpson said he thinks his team has a chance to take second at the championship meet.
“The Shore Club is a lot stronger than anyone else,” said Simpson. “But I think we can finish ahead of Edgebrook.”
Finishing second would confirm the re-emergence of the Country Club and put it in a position to challenge the Shore Club next year.
The meet between the Country Club and Shore Club was a lot like the two previous meets where each team took on the Beach Club. A friendly atmosphere supercharged the spirit of competition between Island neighbors.
“We always have the best turnouts for the Island meets,” said Simpson. “They have fun talking about it the entire week leading up to the meet.”
Despite strong motivation at the meet, both clubs were missing key swimmers, including six for the Country Club. But it didn’t take away from the races themselves.
“We had some great swims,” said Simpson. “And the kids had a lot of fun.”
That atmosphere even propelled one swimmer into the record books. Although the Mercerwood Shore Club set many records at the meet, Dan Simons, 13, surprised everyone by breaking a 19-year-old record in the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 1:01:55.
“[This meet] is much more intense and spirited then the other meets and I think the kids really draw from that energy,” said Simpson.
Energy will be the name of the game at the championship meet, featuring all three Island teams, that will take place at 8 a.m. at the King County Aquatic Center on Saturday.