Frequently Asked Questions

with frequently given answers

Although the group has been together for more than 15 years, the Mercer Island Redwoods formed as an official organization in June, 2010. Here are answers to several questions that arose as the group was getting started:

  1. How much does it cost to swim?
    You can choose to pay quarterly if you plan to swim full-time, by the month, or by punch card. Quarterly and monthly MSC members pay a reduced amount. Quarterly$325/$160 Monthly$120/$60 A 10-swim virtual punch-card is $110; or you can drop-in for any individual workout for $12. Young Masters (35 and under) can join for a quarterly rate of $250.
  2. I'm planning to be gone for an entire month. Can I just pay 2/3 of a quarterly bill?

    We're not planning to kick people off the team for serially quitting and rejoining. That said, it's important to realize that there will be no long term benefit to playing those sorts of games. For example, if all of our members only paid for 11 months of MIR membership a year, we'd have to set monthly rates at 109.1% of what they would be if everyone just paid for 12 months in order to pay our bills. Everyone ends up paying the exact same annual total anyway, it just makes budgeting and planning harder. The best way to keep rates low is for everyone to commit to being in it for the long haul so that we can plan lower rates for everyone without having to worry about contingency funds for when people periodically drop out for short periods.

  3. Who are the coaches?

    We are currently honored to have Katie Dahl-Lometewana run 4 weekly workouts, with Katie Schaeffer filling in for monthly Sunday workouts. On Wednesdays we depend on one of several of our own members as a fill-in guest coach. Currently, certified coaches include Tom Grandine, Mike Schaeffer, Alex Goldstein, Tom Robertson, Adair Dingle, Q Glaze, Steve Sussex, Liz Rosen, Steve Underbrink, and Shannon McIntyre. Read more about all of our coaches here.

  4. Are guests welcome?

    By all means, yes. Those of you who haven't committed to swim with us regularly, but would nevertheless like to make appearances at our workouts from time to time, are welcome to do so. Please feel free to swim with us as often as you'd like. The drop-in fee for guest swimmers is $9; please leave that with the coach on deck as you enter.

  5. Is USMS registration required?

    Yes! USMS provides local teams like ours with the liability insurance coverage required by MSC, our host pool (as any other pool-renting facility requires). The certificate of liability insurance is provided by USMS free of charge, but only if all of our team members are also USMS members in good standing. There are plenty of other benefits to USMS membership; if you aren't already a member, you can register online at

  6. When are fees due?

    Please arrange to pay for your membership at the beginning of each quarter. Make your check payable to Mercer Island Redwoods and deliver it to Tom Grandine or Mike Schaeffer at practice. Non-MSC members pay $325/quarter; MSC members pay $160/quarter.

  7. What happens on holidays?

    Normally, practices are scheduled for Monday-Friday mornings, regardless of whether or not it's a holiday (and, except in the summer, one Saturday morning each month). Check with the coach, or Tom Grandine or Mike Schaeffer at practice as each holiday draws near in case there are any exceptions; or check the workout/coaching schedule here.