Results are in from the World Championships and the U.S. Open in Florida—the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Water Ski Team will keep its long tradition of having world-class champions on its roster.
Past and present team members performed very well at both events, bringing home medals and international acclaim.
At the 2007 Water Ski World Championships in Linz, Austria Aug. 28 – Sept. 2, Ryan Dodd (Olds, Alberta, Canada) placed fourth in men’s jump; Natalia Berdnikova (Novopolotsk, Belarus) placed second in women’s trick, earning the silver medal, and third in women’s jump, earning the bronze; Aliaksei Zharnasek placed second in men’s trick, earning the silver medal.
Former ULM Water Ski Team member Thomas Degasperi (who graduated last year) placed first in men’s slalom, winning the gold medal, and another alum, Freddy Krueger, won the gold medal in men’s jump.
“It’s an Olympic-scale event for water ski competitions,” said Treina Landrum, the team’s coach and director of Recreational Services. “More than 120 athletes competed from at least 40 countries, each of which selects its best representatives to send to the world championships.”
Other current and former ULM skiers participating were: Martin Bartalsky (Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia), Adam Sedlmajer (Prague, Czech Republic), Regina Jaquess (U.S.), and Breanne Wagner (Canada).
According to the International Water Ski Federation World Cup Web site, “Slalom, tricks and jumping are the three events of traditional water skiing that make up the oldest and most original discipline of water skiing…International water ski competitions have been held since 1949 with the first World Championships in Juan-les-Pins, France. The World Championships are held every two years.”
Age does not determine what categories participants compete in—it’s all about skill, Landrum explained. The ULM team members work on their skiing year-round. The competitive skiing season is collegiate in the fall and spring; otherwise they compete for their countries at tournaments in the intervening time.
“It’s pretty amazing to have so many skiers at the Olympics of waterskiing also be on the ULM team, and have achieved that high a level as athletes,” Landrum said.
ULM team members also accounted very well for themselves at the 20th U.S. Open Water Ski Championships in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Sept. 13 – 15.
“All of the finals in that tournament were held on the Disney property with thousands of people watching,” Landrum said. “All of the best professional water skiers are invited, regardless of age and nationalities. You have to qualify to get into the preliminaries—it’s very elite. It was very gratifying to have such a large audience and have so many people on my team do so well.”
Zharnasek placed first in men’s trick, Berdnikova won second place in women’s jump, and Dodd won second place in men’s jump. Alumnus Krueger won third place in that event.
According to www.usolympicteam.com the official site of the U.S. Olympic Team, “in its 20th year, the U.S. Open attracted more than 75 of the world’s top water ski athletes from more than a dozen countries. It has long been considered the most prestigious tournament in three-event water skiing. Male and female athletes competed for titles in slalom, tricks and jumping. Athletes competing in all three events were eligible for the coveted U.S. Open overall title.”
More about the ULM Water Ski Team:
The ULM Water Ski Team competes in the National Collegiate Water Ski Association South Central Region. Collegiate water skiing competition features three events: slalom, trick skiing and jumping.
Members of the ULM Water Ski Team this fall are:
- Berdnikava, Natallia Novopolotsk, Belarus
- Collins, Brittany Murray, Ky.
- Hernandez, Tatiana Bogota, Columbia
- Marquess, Carly Paducah, Ky.
- Stevens, Karen Morrisburg, Canada
- Bartalsky, Martin Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia
- Boyd, Tyler Houston, Texas
- Collins, Tyler Murray, Ky.
- Dammann, Kyle Lynchberg, Tenn.
- Odvarko, Daniel Prague, Czech Republic
- Sedlmajer, Adam Prague, Czech Republic
- Zharnasek, Aleksei Novopolotsk, Belarus
“We have a great lineup of skiers,” said Landrum. “People really enjoy the spectacular skiing they see from our team. The university is very proud to have such a wonderful group of world class athletes.”
Landrum sees this reflected in sponsorships from ULM groups like the Campus Activities Board and the Student Government Association, as well as in community ones like Gus Campbell Water Sports and Boating Center and the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Their support is vastly appreciated—we could not do this without them.”
The ULM Water Ski Team is the current national champion team and holds 19 National Collegiate Water Ski Association Championship titles; winning 19 of the 27 years the competition has been held. They will compete for their 20th championship this year.
The team will compete Sept. 29 – 30 in the South Central Region's Championship at Cedar Creek Ski Park in Elkins, Ark., hosted by the University of Arkansas.
For more information, contact Landrum at (318) 342-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.