The Ragin’ Cajuns Water Ski team officially claimed their seventh national title at the National Collegiate Water Ski Association’s championship in Rio Linda, California.
The team was formed in 1998, and they have now won national titles in 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2019.
To qualify for the national championship, teams have to compete throughout the season and perform well in their events to have the opportunity to compete on a national level. This was not a problem for the Ragin Cajuns, as they went undefeated this season.
The team’s strategy for winning was to train for consistency, coach to weaknesses, support each other regardless of the outcome, ski for the team before themselves and maximize tricks to the tournament competition.
“These skiers come here well prepared to ski at the highest level. They train and coach each other, as well as counsel each other when they don't do as well as they may have wanted to. For the most part, I set expectations of how to be a ‘Ragin' Cajun.’ I let them know that being a highly successful team in the public eye, we are expected to act as champions at all times,” Head Coach Ryan Gonzales said,
The 22 members that make up the Ragin Cajun Water Ski team are from nine countries. Members consist of: team captain Harry Spavin (England), graduate assistant Taryn Grant (Canada), Bailey Austin (U.S.); Alice Bagnoli (Italy); Carlo Basic (Austria); Ethan McKinnon (Australia); Marie-Lou Moulanier (France); Kim Niederbaumer (Germany); Patrik Ohman (Sweden); amongst others. These young men and women are led by coach, Ryan Gonzales.
In addition to their phenomenal performance, the Ragin Cajuns Water Ski team is dedicated to more than just competition. The team has a special commitment to community service and involvement that outshines most others.
Camille Tyler, a Ragin’ Cajun alumna said the team has devoted much of their time to the community as well.
“They spent a weekend teaching local kids how to ski, they raised money and collected canned goods for veterans, they participated in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Sneaux Day by pulling kids around on the grass to get a feel for skiing, and so much more. Their service to the community has given the team local recognition that despite being 7X National Champions, they have not had previously,” Tyler said.
With all of this being said, the Ragin’ Cajuns have high hopes for the future. They aspire to be back-to-back champions and continue and increase their work in the community.
Because of this, Gonzales is hoping to gain access to more athletic resources and improved facilities so that the team can prepare for their season more diligently, dive into academics, and bring in more recruits each and every year.
“Watching them support each other in their small success as they set and reached individual goals, I can not say enough about how this team of students from all corners of the globe is truly a family,” Coach Gonzales said. “Having the opportunity to see this continue year after year and become part of the team culture makes all the hard work worth it, even if we don't win.”
For the Ragin’ Cajuns Water Ski team, this is what it's all about.