Imperial Lakes in El Centro, CA

2016 NCWSA National Water Ski Championships

The day has finally arrived; today is the first day of 2016 NCWSA Nationals at Imperial Lakes in El Centro, California! We would like to take a moment to remind you that a lot of general tournament information can be found on the Nationals page, including running orders on the schedule tab of the page. But lets cover one major item that everyone will be looking for prior to getting to our juicy predictions!

The Webcast

The entire event should be available via live streaming! Kelvin Kelm did an amazing job last year at the 2015 Nationals in Texas, and he is back again to lead the way for webcasting the 2016 tournament. Curtis Williams of San Diego State University has gathered some great bio information from the 24 teams competing at Nationals. You will hear Curtis live on the webcast as one of the announcers for the tournament. The webcast can be found embedded below or at:

The Teams

Twenty-four teams will converge on the NCWSA Nationals tournament, twelve per division.

  • Division 1
    • University of Alabama
    • Florida Southern College
    • Rollins College
    • Clemson University
    • The Ohio State University
    • Michigan State University
    • University of Kansas
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Louisiana at Monroe
    • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    • San Diego State University
    • Arizona State University
  • Division 2
    • Auburn University
    • Miami University
    • Grand Valley State University
    • University of Cincinnati
    • Iowa State University
    • University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of Texas
    • University of Arkansas
    • Western Washington University
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of California, Los Angeles

The Predictions

Division 1

There are twelve teams competing in the division 1 tournament, but when we look over all the teams we think we can narrow it down to four teams with the best shot at winning a National Championship. We will give you one or two reasons why each of the following teams could win in 2016.

Florida Southern College – The Long Shot

FSC is the long shot in this grouping of four collegiate water ski teams with title hopes. Florida Southern College has consistently ranked in the top few teams in the NCWSA rankings over the last two fall seasons, spending much of 2015 at the top spot. After a 2nd place finish last year, can FSC find another gear and pull it together to achieve a national championship in 2016? We call FSC our long shot, it isn’t impossible but sitting at #4 in the rankings going into Nationals means that they will need ski amazingly well and may still need some help to win the title.

University of Alabama – The Dark Horse Underdog

2016 University of Alabama TeamThe University of Alabama spent the first two weeks at the top of the NCWSA rankings in 2016. That fact alone should be enough to deem them worthy of a shot at the title. However, in the pre-Nationals rankings Alabama was jumped by ULL and ULM, falling from first to third. This makes them our dark horse candidate for the title. The University of Alabama will play the role of the underdog that could possibly dethrone the Louisiana kings (ULM and ULL) that regularly claim the overwhelming majority of national championships.

University of Louisiana at Monroe – The Perennial Champion

We will just let the following image speak for itself.

ULM Title Sign

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – The Reigning Champion

2016 ULL Team at SCRThe Ragin’ Cajuns are the defending national champions, and they leaped over Alabama and ULM to claim the #1 spot in the pre-Nationals rankings. After most of their team spent the first weekend of the NCWSA season in Japan skiing at the World University Championships, the Ragin’ Cajuns Waterski Team skiers showed up in force for the South Central Regionals to help them pull off the jump to the #1 team ranking.

The Winner

We are going to pick the ULL Ragin’ Cajuns to successfully defend their 2015 National Championship and earn a back-to-back championship title by becoming the 2016 NCWSA Nationals winners. However, we and many others will continue to love our dark horse Alabama and we certainly would not feel bad about being wrong should University of Alabama claim the title.

Division 2

Division 2 is a much harder prediction than division 1. We believe three teams from the Midwest Region have a shot at the D2 crown: Miami University (Miami of Ohio), Grand Valley State University, and the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Another team could take the crown, but we believe whichever one of these three teams skis to their potential at 2016 Nationals will most likely walk away the champ.

Spirit Award

How could we almost forget the spirit award!? This is a coveted title sought by many of the 24 teams in attendance this weekend. Watch our Instagram and other social media with #NCWSASpirit #2016NCWSANationals to see some of the top spirit award contenders! It is hard to predict a winner, several teams usually go all out every year. If we were forced to choose, Miami University (aka Miami of Ohio) would be a great choice based on their accomplishments so far in 2016. Miami of Ohio took the spirit award at the Greak Lakes Conference Championships in the Midwest, and a week after that they took home the region’s spirit award too at Midwest regionals. No matter who wins, we will enjoy the spirit!

Live Feed



Adam Koehler

Skied with the Illini Waterski Team and the Marquette Waterski Team. Past winner of the NCWSA Outstanding Leader Award. Former NCWSA Operations Committee Chair and current NCWSA Secretary.