Jimmy Lewis began his illustrious career at Uniondale High School on Long Island where he was a standout attackman from 1960-1962. An All-Nassau County pick for three years, he won the Rutgers Cup and the Outstanding Player Award for Long Island lacrosse in his senior year. During his high school career, his team had 45 straight victories.
Lewis' athletic career at the Naval Academy was very successful. Playing three years of varsity lacrosse, Lewis earned first team All-America honors in 1964, 1965 and 1966. The Naval Academy was continuing its dominance in the sport, earning the national championship title in 1964, 1965 and 1966 and extending the national championship streak that began in 1960.
During those same three years, Lewis was the recipient of the Turnbull Trophy, given to the nation's outstanding attackman. He was the first player to receive the trophy three consecutive years. Lewis held most of the offensive records in the country during his varsity lacrosse days. He also played three years of varsity soccer at Navy, competing in three national semifinals, and scoring Navy's only goal in a 1-0 win in the 1964 national championship. In 1966, Lewis received the Naval Academy Athletic Sword for general excellence in athletics, the highest award the Academy gives to an athlete.
An outstanding student, Lewis was honored nationally with the Outstanding Scholar Athletic Gold Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. A Top Gun graduate, Lewis was one of only two Navy pilots selected each year for the Air Force Test Pilot School. As an active-duty naval aviator, Lewis continued his involvement with lacrosse by playing club lacrosse for Chesapeake, Mt. Washington, The Crease and the Los Angeles Lacrosse Club while moving around the country.