NOWSA hosting 3rd Mercer Island Marathon Swim - Friday May 24, 2019

The Northwest Open Water Swimming Association is hosting the 3rd annual "MIMS" (Mercer Island Marathon Swim) on Friday, May 24, 2019.


Mercer Island sits in Lake Washington just outside Seattle. Distance around = 20k, no current, temperature likely to be in the low 60s, and on a sunny day the scenery is absolutely spectacular. Swim on Friday and stay to explore the NW over the long Memorial Day weekend.

In order to grow this event, the format will be different this year. Each swimmer will be required to have their own kayaker to escort and feed them during the 20k swim. (Unfortunately recruiting 1 motor boat per swimmer just doesn't scale.)

Registration (application process for ~20 spots) will open in early January. Specific date, time and process TBD.

Cost is TBD too, we're still working on the budget.

Additional details about the event, are not yet available on our website, but hopefully we'll get to those soon too.

Please subscribe to this post for updates about all of the above.

Post questions here so that others can enjoy the answers. Or if you're shy, contact me via email: racedirector 'at' Forgive slow answers, 'tis the holiday season.

Thanks for the interest. Looking forward to seeing you in May!



  • BigGuppy412BigGuppy412 Pittsburgh, USAMember

    Just curious because I don't know the area well...How is the wildlife there? Any concerns about sharks or whales?

  • liz_rosenliz_rosen Member
    edited November 2018

    @BigGuppy412 Most of the wildlife you'll see will be flying overhead - eagles, ducks, seaplanes. Lake Washington is fresh water, so no sharks or whales. There was a sighting of a 6-7' sturgeon last summer, but the chances of anyone seeing that again are extremely rare!

  • Ready to volunteer again if you need me, Liz :).

  • SwimUpStreamSwimUpStream Portland Oregon Member

    I swam this last year if anyone wants advice. This year I’ll be support paddling!

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I'm pretty slow. What's the time limit?

  • I am slow too, hopefully not too slow to do this event... I'll be watching for the registration information!

  • VanCornwellVanCornwell Marin, CAMember

    Are local volunteers able or willing to paddle for out of town swimmers? Do we need to arrange our own kayaks?

  • @dpm50 @MeesaGonnaSwim - the time limit was 9 hours last year. Most likely we'll keep it the same again this year. Depending on conditions, ability of boats to stay on the water past 9 hours, plus other factors may affect whether or not the limit will be strictly enforced.

  • VanCornwell said:
    Are local volunteers able or willing to paddle for out of town swimmers? Do we need to arrange our own kayaks?

    @VanCornwell - at this early date, we do not have local volunteers lined up for paddling. We will be working with a local kayak shop though to arrange for renting boats to out-of-towners who bring a paddler with them. Fee for this is TBD.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Thanks for the info! Travel budget is a factor... have a possible trip to the left coast for a family reunion, but dates haven't been set.

    liz_rosen said:
    @dpm50 @MeesaGonnaSwim - the time limit was 9 hours last year. Most likely we'll keep it the same again this year. Depending on conditions, ability of boats to stay on the water past 9 hours, plus other factors may affect whether or not the limit will be strictly enforced.

  • Howdy folks and happy new year! Making your swimming plans for 2019? If so, then you'll be ready to register for MIMS on January 7! Look for a registration link here at 7 am PST on Monday the 7th.

  • JaimieJaimie NYCMem​ber

    Registration link is live!

  • Greetings Marathon Swimmers!

    Registration is open for the 2019 Mercer Island Marathon Swim - sign up here!

    NOWSA held the first 20k Mercer Island Marathon Swim ("MIMS" for short) in 2017. The event is inspired by the old MIMS in New York: it is meant to be a day where swimmers can meet each other face-to-face and share in a marathon swim that is both challenging yet approachable.

    MIMS is being held on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Lake Washington (Seattle). It is not a warm swim. The temp at this time of year is usually in the low 60s. Swimmers should be prepared for cold temperatures, and also prepared to prove that they have adequate experience and training during the application process.

    You'll find some additional talk about the event here. There's lots of info about the event on NOWSA website event page as well.

    Hope to see you in May!

  • liz_rosenliz_rosen Member
    edited March 2019


    14 swimmers are registered for the 3rd MIMS. We have room for 6 more and are keeping registration open indefinitely until full. Interested? Get in touch with any questions or just CLICK HERE to learn more and sign up. Please also spread the word - thanks!

    And here they are...

    • John Batchelder, Littleton, CO
    • Kory Broere, Denver, CO
    • Ken Classen, Denver, CO
    • Van Cornwell, Fairfax, CA
    • Abigail Fairman, New York, NY
    • Steve Gruenwald, Faribault, MN
    • John Horst, San Antonio, TX
    • Kellie Latimer, Franklin, MA
    • Lauren Lesyna, Los Altos Hills, CA
    • David Liano, Seattle, WA
    • Sarah Roberts, Redwood City, CA
    • Audrey Viers, Mission Viejo, CA
    • Georgia Wells, San Francisco, CA
    • Stephanie Zimmerman, Seattle, WA

    Happy training all,

  • Since I posted the other day, we now have two more swimmers registered:

    • Karl Fleischer, Denver, CO
    • Kim Hedges, San Rafael, CA

    Everyone is now listed on our website: , and we'll continue to update that page as we fill our last four spots!

  • Howdy all - I realize this is kind of last minute, but there are still spots available for MIMS if you're feeling equipped for a 20K swim! Hit me up if you have questions, or just click HERE to register. Hope to see you in Seattle. Liz

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    Come on in, the water's fine!

  • Hello!

    Feeling like you're in good shape? Looking for a last minute 20K swim? You're in luck! The Mercer Island Marathon Swim is two weeks from tomorrow (Friday May 24th) and we have a few more slots available if you’re interested in joining the fun.

    We have boats at the ready. We have kayakers excited to paddle. We have observers and swag and volunteers. And the best part... the weather in Seattle is gorgeous this week and the water is starting to warm up!

    Learn more HERE and sign up from the link on that page. Feel free to hit me up here with questions as well.

    ~ Liz

    p.s. more info on this post as well.

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2019

    MIMS is tomorrow! Live GPS tracking at

  • liz_rosenliz_rosen Member
    edited May 2019

    We've had some drops and adds - here's our final list of 12 swimmers for tomorrow:

    @evmo said:
    MIMS is tomorrow! Live GPS tracking at


    • Karl Fleischer, Denver, CO
    • Kim Hedges, San Rafael, CA
    • Abhishek Malik, Seven Hills, NSW, Australia
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    Seeing happy faces on my FB timeline. Congrats to all the swimmers! Sounded rough over there.


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • liz_rosenliz_rosen Member
    edited May 2019

    It was a rough day indeed, but these swimmers (and their kayakers especially) did an amazing job. They had strong headwinds, rain and chop for the first half, the second half smoothed out significantly. The last mile was glassy - of course. Water temp hovered around 60. A bit warmer and colder in places.

    Here are the results:

    1. John Batchelder 6:00:18
    2. Van Cornwell 6:34:53
    3. Lauren Lesyna 6:47.24
    4. Kellie Latimer 6:56:15
    5. Ken Classen 7:04:37
    6. Sarah Roberts 7:33:29
    7. Stephanie Zimmerman 8:12:26
    8. Kim Hedges 9:11:26
    9. Georgia Wells 9:16:27

    DNF: Abhishek Malik
    DNF: Kory Broere
    DNF: Karl Fleischer

    CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL - you rock, no matter how far you got. This swim is hard, for sure. It was a wonderful, friendly group and I enjoyed meeting everyone tremendously. The marathon swimming community is amazing.

    Loads of pictures from the day on our facebook page:

  • kejoycekejoyce New EnglandSenior Member

    I can't speak highly enough of my experience last week in Seattle... if you get the chance to swim MIMS I definitely recommend it! There is a great community of open water swimmers in that corner of the world. I had never been there before and I was welcomed with open arms. @liz_rosen and company put on a really well-run event and the tremendous support and enthusiasm from the local swimmers/kayakers/observers was very obvious and appreciated! Thanks again (again again) to everyone involved :)

  • georgiaswimsgeorgiaswims San FranciscoMember

    Yes, it was such a great swim! (I say this now that I can lift my arms...) @liz_rosen and all the volunteers were so wonderful!

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