On Easter morning, you might wake up early, get dressed in your Sunday best and head to church with your family. But for swimmers and non-swimmers alike, there is another way to observe the religious holiday while combining it with a passion for the water.
Lucky Meisenheimer, the founder of Lucky’s Lake Swim and owner of a world record yo-yo collection, has been hosting a special Easter sunrise service and swim in his own backyard for the past several years. It has grown to about 100 attendees since its first year.
Lucky’s Lake Swim is an informal, open lake swim on Lake Cane that has been held regularly since 1989. It was even named a historical event by the Historical Society of Central Florida several years ago. Meisenheimer says the most swimmers he has ever had was 472 on a single day, which was the day it was named a historical event, but that the average is 25-30 weekday swimmers and 150 Saturday swimmers during peak times.
While the swim isn’t typically held on Sundays, the special Easter service and swim began several years ago when one of Meisenheimer’s regular swimmers, who is also a pastor, asked if he would mind letting him lead an Easter service at the lake.
“I said, ‘Why not?’ It’s the only way I’m going to get a front row at Easter service, and it’s the only time I’ve been in the front for an Easter service,” Meisenheimer says with a laugh.
The service is preceded by a free pancake breakfast for everybody in attendance and is followed by a 1 kilometer swim in Lake Cane. While it is open to all, there is no requirement or pressure to swim. Many attend for the beautiful views of the sunrise service and stay to cheer on the adventurous swimmers. Most importantly, the morning is filled with fellowship and philanthropy.
“All the offerings given at the service, we select a charity each year for that to go to,” he says. “This year’s it’s the YMCA Aquatic Center’s Scholarship Fund.”
The YMCA of Central Florida has 31 pools across its local facilities, including the YMCA Aquatic Center on International Drive. Through the years, the Y has developed swim programs for all ages, from the infant water survival program called Safe Start to competitive aquatic programs for kids and teenagers to the Y’s Masters Swim for serious adult swimmers. And the Y does what it can to keep athletes swimming despite their ability to pay.
“We have a lot of athletes in need, and it’s the best and only way they’re going to stay in the water,” Meisenheimer says.