The 2010 Nationals made history for several reasons. The host Club, County Down's Lough Aghery Waterski Club were relieved to have great water conditions and some sunshine for the weekend. All were delighted to see both Jack and Janet Maxwell in the spectators area again as they have not missed a Nationals for 27 years !
Barry Galvin of Cork in action. Photo: Des Burke-Kennedy
The two outstanding achievements on the water also involved big numbers. On arrival, Barry Galvin of Cork Power Boat & Waterski Club must have wondered if he was hoping for too much to take his 24th consecutive National Overall Waterski title - a feat never achieved anywhere in the world. To do this, his combined scores in Slalom, Tricks and Jump, had to beat all other contenders. As it turned out, he somehow outpointed all athletes once again. This was an outstanding achievement. His 24th consecutive Overall title is certainly Guinness Book of Records stuff !
The second outstanding achievement was that of Rodney Watson of Meteor Waterski Club, another Belfast neighbour. As National Slalom Record Holder, he was last on the water and this is not a position he enjoys. That extra pressure to beat all other scores can sometimes get to him ! The seven who qualified for the Finals did not make it easy for him. Both Jody Waterworth of Lough Aghery WSC and Barry Galvin of Cork PB&WSC had alerady secured scores on the short 13m Slalom line. As it is 11.5m from the MasterCraft Boat pole to each of the six Slalom buoys, that 13m shortening only allows 1.5m to play with. Each Slalom Skier at this rope shortening will cross the wakes at over 70kph and that requires perfect timing and enormous skill. He had to get beyond 4.5 Buoys on that 13m line to take the 2010 Slalom Title. Not only did Rodney Watson get on to that 13m line, but he cleared the entire pass and then went on further to secure a score of 4 Buoys on the even shorter 12m line. With just 0.5m to play with, the applause as he returned to the Dock to take his 10th National Slalom title was fully deserved. Congratulations Rodney Watson.
At the other end of the scale, the two young Galvin brothers, Daniel and Barry T, showed that they are certainly going to follow in their father's footsteps. Between them, they took all the U12 and U14 Slalom, Tricks and Jump titles this year. In fact, Barry T even outperformed all the "grown ups" in the Tricks event with a score of 4280 points. He has been coached in recenet years by the World Record Holder Nicolas LeForestier of France and Nicolas is returning to him again in August for more intensive training. That coaching investment is certainly paying off.