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Sarah Switzer, seated, a product of James Clemens High, was among the Auburn University Water Ski Team which finished third at the Collegiate Nationals held in California. Photo Contributed

Madison’s Sarah Switzer Helps Auburn Ski Team To Place Third At Collegiate Nationals

RIO LINDA, CAL.- The Auburn University water ski team had a tremendous showing at the Syndicate Water Skis Collegiate Nationals held at Bell Acqua Lakes in Rio Linda, Cal. The women’s team finished third while the men’s squad took fifth place in Division 2.

Among the top women on the Lady Tigers’ squad was Madison’s Sarah Switzer. The sophomore who attended James Clemens High did well in the individual events finishing seventh in tricks, 27th in slalom and 40th in jump. Overall, Switzer was 19th in individual competition.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Switzer of her first experience at the collegiate nationals upon her arrival back in Auburn. “One of our teammates is from the area of the event and we really had a great time together and had plenty of time for team bonding.”

One factor that made Switzer’s performance astounding is the fact she was the only adaptive skier competing against able bodied skiers. The 20-year old sophomore was born with spina bifida, which affects the use of her legs. She uses a special made water skiing seat with her feet strapped. Once she learned how to balance during skiing she took the sport by storm.

“It was very interesting to see all of the support I received from the other teams,” said Switzer. “I feel I did well in tricks and slalom, but need to improve in jumps as that event is sort of new for me as I’ve only been doing jumps since 2015. “I saw a lot of Division 1 skiers in action and learned a lot from them just by watching.”

Miami of Ohio won the Division 2 title scoring 10,050 points. Cal Poly was second (9,990), followed by Wisconsin (99,485), Auburn (9,225) and Iowa State (9,135).

Louisiana-Lafayette won the Division 1 national title while the University of Alabama was runner-up.

Bell Acqua Lakes has been in existence for over 30 years and is located just outside Sacramento. The facility is made up of three lakes and are within walking and biking distance and is a family-friendly facility. All three lakes are setup to hold record capability events.

“Having this experience was great for our team as we are one big family and we support one another,” added Switzer.

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