The Janzig sisters grew up riding in the wake of their father’s passion for water skiing, accumulating state championship records and Sophie serves as the University of Minnesota’s Water Ski Team president.
Sophie, a sophomore at the University, continues to compete collegiately at the Division II level in the Midwest Collegiate Water Ski Association and independently through the American Water Ski Association (AWSA). In previous years, she has placed in national competitions through performances in both leagues, performances that earned her two spots in the state championship record book for the slalom and trick events.
Sophie’s older sister, Hannah Janzig, graduated from the University in 2022. Before her enrollment, she earned two spots in the record book, both in the trick event. Since then she has continued to compete and help in the transition to get the ski team organized.
The reason for their successes can be traced to University alumni and the pair’s father, Darren Janzig.
His love for water skiing began through learning how to ski at his family’s cabin and reading books from his local bookstore. Through AWSA, he learned what competitive water skiing looked like and has been hooked ever since.
Darren is a highly accomplished water skier, holding multiple championship records in slalom and trick, with his most recent record coming in 2020.
He took his passion for water skiing and started to teach his kids when they were about two years old, learning to ski alongside their father.
During the summer, the family would pack lunches and spend all day on the lake, skiing until sunset. On weekends, they often went to competitions the whole family participated in.
The family later moved to a property to ensure their ability to train at a higher level. This site has two man-made lakes designed specifically for competitive water skiing. Hannah recalled growing up on the lake “loving being able to grow and excel together through competitions.”
Today, Darren remains Hannah and Sophie’s head coach.
“Not a lot of people get to spend every day with their teenage kids,” Darren said. “I am so fortunate and grateful to spend every day having fun with my kids.”
The University’s Water Ski Club focuses on teaching people with limited water skiing experience who want to be on a team. They train on Janzig’s family lake under Sophie and occasionally Darren’s guidance. Sophie loves the team and encourages all skill levels to join.
The training looks different on the team than it does for Sophie. Usually, training involves building a foundation encompassing all aspects of skiing. When she is training individually, Sophie focuses on repetition and mastering the skill she is working on before moving on to another skill.
“I try as hard as I can during practice. Some people like a little bit of fun and a little bit of seriousness in their practice. I feel like I like a little bit of both,” Sophie said.
Since the Minnesota Water Ski Team has such an extensive range of skiers, Sophie continues to compete on her own in addition to being on the team. The style and formatting of competitions are the same at the collegiate level and with AWSA.
Sophie continues to train with her father most days and wants to continue water skiing in Minnesota for as long as possible.