My collegiate experience would have been completely different had I not crossed paths with the Illini Waterski Team on Quad Day in August of 2008. I’d grown up a recreational skier, but I never imagined that it was something I could continue in college – certainly not in the cornfields of Champaign, Illinois. Little did I know, joining the team would shape my entire college career. From tournaments each weekend in the fall, Winter Conference, and team meetings most weeks, I ended up with several lifelong friendships. But enough of the sappy trip down memory lane.
As the season is winding down, and teams are prepping for Regionals this weekend, I’ll throw it back to a few of my Regionals experiences. For those of you that aren’t familiar with October in the Midwest, the weather can oscillate from 80 degrees and sunny to 40 degrees and freezing, seemingly overnight (read: this past Sunday/Monday). My first regional tournament was beautiful, warm and sunny. We were able to swim, play bags and hang out on the lake.
The next three years, however, were spent in parkas and wetsuits on the dock. There is something to be said about standing on the dock with teammates and competitors before jumping into frigid water – it is quite the bonding experience! We came up with creative ways to stay warm, including, but not limited to: dance parties on the starting dock, the heated gazebo at PITS, an incredible number layers, ski muffins, hot chocolate, and I once saw someone complete the slalom course on jump skis – never touching the water the entire time.
Good luck to everyone at Regionals this weekend! In the future, expect to see more posts from an alumni perspective, tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way, and interviews with NCWSA alumni in an “Alumni Spotlight:” series. If there is anything else you’re looking to see – please leave a comment on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org!