GVSU water ski club finishes 12th at nationals

Kate Nuyen


The Grand Valley State University water ski club took the long road trip down to ever-sunny Louisiana for the NCWSA National Championships over the weekend in Zachary, La.

GVSU’s Jack Phillipson said it was a great event for both the water ski team as a whole and for the competitors on an individual level even though the Lakers finished last out of 12 Division I teams.

“We had almost every one of our skiers have a personal best, there were new school records that were broken and I think that we can attribute the individual success to not being under as much pressure,” Phillipson said. “This is the last tournament and everyone could go out and ski.”

The Lakers’ personal successes came despite knowing they were battling against the odds.

“The team did very well, considering most of us did not have much practice going into the tournament due to the weather in Michigan,” said captain Paul Vaitkevicius. “We also had to deal with a couple of key injuries. Overall, I think our best attribute was just performing consistently.”

The team may not have finished in first place, but it was awarded the NCWSA Spirit Award. The accolade recognized GVSU as the team that showed the most school spirit over the weekend.

“We are different from a lot of teams because we support every athlete that we have,” Phillipson said. “We have big flags and have chants that we do. We go on the dock when one of our skiers is skiing and jump around and yell. If one of our members falls in the water then we will swim out to them and have a little swimming dance party. We are just really proud of all skiers.”

The Lakers are now planning on taking a break due to harsh Michigan weather.

Even though the Midwest doesn’t have ideal weather, that didn’t stop the Heartland colleges from being the most represented region at nationals: Nine teams came from the Midwest.

Competing at nationals required a considerable time commitment from the GVSU team members, who had to miss their Tuesday through Friday classes at the height of midterms.

Although the Lakers had to do some rearranging with their schedules, the crew considered competing at nationals more than worth it.