Club water ski fields largest team yetBy Caroline Vincent | 09/03/2015 9:21am
Santi Varras makes a turn during waterski practice. Photo courtesy of Santi Varras
“We have about over 30 kids that train,” said Kachele, a senior majoring marketing and sales.
Though not every team member will attend the national tournament that caps the team’s season in mid-October, Kachele said the Crimson Tide will still have one of the biggest teams at the competition with around 20 skiers competing.
The team will need the support of each other, as this year is one of major changes. Tom Strong, former Dean of Students who started the team, is stepping down after more than 40 years of service to the team. Courtney Page has taken on the role of advisor for this year’s team and, according to Kachele, has put up a united front with the team’s Vice President Brie Carter. Kachele said all of these changes have put him in an interesting position, but despite the growth, the team has remained close to each other.
“Our team is so involved with each other,” Kachele said.
The sport requires a lot of reliance between teammates, and that trust creates a snowball effect. He said water skiing is a close-knit sport and when recruits see how close of a team Alabama has, they are drawn to it.
“I really have been a part of everybody that’s been here,” he said.
Kachele also makes sure to provide a friendly atmosphere to recruits by hosting activities such as hanging out by the pool or barbecuing on the lake.
His efforts have paid off, as the team gained nine freshmen to the team this year after graduating only two seniors last season.
Russell Durand, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, knows these newcomers will be a huge asset to the team.
“After a year of only losing a couple seniors, as well as gaining multiple highly talented freshmen, our team is primed and ready to contend for a national championship,” he said. “I expect big things from everyone on out team this year.”
Durand and the rest team have reason to be excited for the upcoming season. The Alabama Water Ski team will compete in regionals at the end of this month in South Carolina and then nationals in mid-October.