Making A Splash: Lake Propelling Swimming Legacy In Home Country’s Honor


Senior Alex Lake poses with his national records trophy that he received for setting Anguillian swimming records. He is the leading Anguillian in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 50m and 100m breaststroke.

At age three, senior Alex Lake didn’t want to get in the swimming pool in his home country in Anguilla out of fear of drowning. Now, nearly 15 years later, Lake has not only won Benjamin’s swimming MVP award in four consecutive years, but he is the first person in Anguillian history to represent the nation in an international swimming competition.

Before moving to St. Charles, Missouri at the age of 11, Lake lived in Anguilla, a small island in the Caribbean home to just over 15,000 people. After living just outside of St. Louis for two years, Lake moved to Palm Beach County and began attending Benjamin in 7th grade. 

In the past six years, Lake has led the boys’ varsity swimming team to a district title for the first time in school history (accomplished this past fall), as well as competed and done well in both regional and state meets. Benjamin varsity swim coach Ms. Ms. Sara Misselhorn has seen Lake grow and become a better swimmer since he joined the team in 7th grade.

“He’s very dedicated and he perseveres through a lot of hard practices, wakes up mornings, afternoons, weekends,” Ms. Misselhorn said. “He shows up, does the job, and puts a lot of effort into it each and every day.”

As a senior and leader of the team Lake has taken responsibility to help for the younger swimmers. Sophomore Jonathan Vidal has found Lake to be a great mentor for him by helping not only with his technique and stroke but to constantly keep a positive attitude.

“One time when I did an incorrect dive in one of my swim meets and completely blew the race.” Vidal said. “Alex then took me aside and really inspired me to keep my head up and to keep going. He taught me the lesson that you have to keep moving forward no matter what.”

For Lake, though, winning this district championship for Benjamin is not his greatest achievement in swimming. Rather, it was donning his country of Anguilla’s colors this past summer in two multi-sport competitions that were over 4,000 miles away from each other.

From June 29 to July 3, 2022, the inaugural Caribbean Games, a U-23 competition, was held in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe. It hosted over 800 athletes from 29 different countries. Lake, in this competition, officially became the first ever Anguillan swimmer to represent the country.

Just a few weeks following the conclusion of the Caribbean Games, Lake found himself in Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Games, preparing to once again swim for his country. Taking place from July 28 to Aug. 8, over 70 countries competed in the event that has nearly a century’s worth of history.

“Representing my country means a lot to me really because I’m the first to ever do it,” said Lake, who swam the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, and 100m breaststroke in both competitions. “At first, I was kind of nervous, but I was ready because I trusted myself and my training up to that point.”

Assistant Athletic Director Mr. Dave Bailey feels what Lake was able to do is something that should not be taken lightly, as he feels that Lake truly accomplished something amazing.

“I don’t think you need to really say any more than that just to be the first at something, that’s just absolutely incredible. I think the pride that he gets out of doing that makes it even better. You don’t get that many times in your life to be able to just be that standout, represent people, represent your family.”

Mr. Bailey feels that Lake’s experience will inspire him to work even harder this year and in the future. According to Lake, his passion and dedication to swimming is something that has come naturally to him through the years due to his competitive nature. His drive to win pushes him to seek constant improvement.

“It’s the competitiveness for me,” he said, “I love to race, especially I love to beat people in races. It gives me a surge of adrenaline when I win races, and the feeling of losing a race and getting back in the water and working on what you did wrong and then going to race again is a lot of fun.”

Lake cites age 15 as being the time where he began to take swimming much more seriously. Before then, he only went to practice three times a week compared to what is now six. One day, his swim coach for his club team, North Palm Beach Swim Club, pulled him aside to tell him that he had potential to be very good and talented, which he took to heart and used to improve to the point where he has gotten today.

In order to maximize his ability in the pool and fulfill his utmost potential, Lake takes on a rigorous workout schedule. He swims six days a week for two hours per session. In addition, he also does dryland workouts in order to increase his strength, balance, endurance, and more.

“It’s really a lot of swimming, a lot of eating, a lot of miles every week,” he said.

Lake returns to Anguilla multiple times per year, finding himself as a role model for the younger children of the island. With plans to move to Anguilla for about a year following his college graduation and his newfound reach on the island, he wants to be able to make an impact for the next generation. 

“There’s all the kids that look up to me now back home,” Lake said. “My main goal for the future is to get a pool back home, so I can coach the kids and teach them how to swim and teach them how to represent Anguilla.”

Lake said he would prefer being able to give back to Anguilla with the construction of a pool rather than competing in the Olympics one day. With his selflessness and perseverance, he wants the youth to be able to be like him one day: swimmers for and from Anguilla.