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Water Ski Club seeks to revitalize program

Katie McCarty | Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In a land of more than 350 student organizations and clubs, Notre Dame’s Water Ski Club wants to once again reassert its place on the map.

Club secretary and freshman Heather Littlejoh, said the club has struggled in recent years to cultivate strong membership and participation.

“The Water Ski Club was only started a few years ago by Adam Carlson and ever since he graduated, the club has gone downhill,” Littlejoh, said.
“We are essentially working together as a team to get as much done this year so we can really sky rocket with leadership, membership, and campus activity for next year.”
Club president sophomore Jackie Pau, sais the club currently had about 20 members who practics at a lake 20 miles west of campus. Permission to use the lake was granted by alumni from the area, she said. The club sporm participates in collegiate tournaments against other Midwest teams. Those competitions consist of three parts: slalom, trick and jump.

“Slalom is skiing through a course. The goal is to get around as many of the six buoys you can at the fastest speed with the shortest length of rope as possible,” Paul said. “Trick can be anything from wake board to trick skis and is scored on the difficulty of the trick. Jump is when you ski over a five foot jump in order to jump for distance.

Littlejohn said because the tournaments get very competitive, even little details matter.

“The ski type, the gloves you wear, the life jacket, the type of handle on the rope, how you hold the rope, it all matters,” Littlejohn said. “Obviously the type of boat, the driver, the conditions of the water are also very important, and even the swimsuit you wear makes a difference.”

With South Bend’s cold winters, Paul said finding time to ski can be difficult.

“Most of our tournaments are right away in September or early October in the fall and late April or early May in the spring,” Paul said. “We practice as long as the weather cooperates and people are brave enough to deal with the water temperatures.”

 The club has something to offer to everyone regardless of their skill level, Paul said.

“It is not necessary to be a master of any of these skills [slalom, jump, trick] to be a part of the club,” he said. “Our members are at all different skill levels.”
“The goal of the club is to offer a welcoming environment to all skiers, including beginners,” Paul said. The club tries to maximize their ski time whether they are practicing or competing at a tournament, she said.

“It is fun to hang out at the lake as people get their runs in and to just be at the lake,” she said.  The tournaments are a ton of fun also. It can get competitive but the skiers from all of the schools are fun people to meet and hang out with for a weekend.”

Those interested in joining the Water Ski Club ca, email Jackie Paul at jpaul1@nd.edu or waterski@nd.edu.

Contact Katie McCarty at kmccar16@nd.edu