Aquanut History

1972
Aquanut Water Shows was formed by Gary Borowski, Karl Schuberth and Kent Yunker.

1973
Aquanuts’ first eight shows were performed at Edgewater Beach. The yearly dues for membership was set at $5.00 per member.

1974
In 1974, the Village Board approved the conversion of a swampy area next to Lance Park Beach into the Aquanuts’ future show site. Ted Borowski and Don Kaelber Sr. purchased the first Hydrodyne hull for $300.00 from the Min-aqua Bats and two 115 hp engines were purchased by Ed Kaelber Sr. An equipment storage trailer was donated by Jack Fitzgerald and an old aluminum fishing boat (of questionable origin) was converted into a safety boat.

1975

Munson Marine sponsored the club with a few pair of skis and Dr. Pepper sponsored programs for which ads were sold. Aquanuts entered tournaments for the first time and placed eleventh at State and eighth at Nationals. Aquanuts were the first team to utilize background musical soundtracks, which was an innovation quickly copied by other teams. The Aquanuts’ own Gary Borowski was the first amateur skier to perform the "flying dock barefoot start" in a competition.

1976
In competitions during 1976, our tournament standings improved to second at State and fifth at Nationals. Costumes worn during performances became much more elaborate for the skiers. Fourteen shows were scheduled plus an additional performance at the Venetian Festival in Lake Geneva.

1977

Munson Marine increased sponsorship by furnishing entire team with skis. Under show director Ed Kaelber II, we placed 1st at State and 2nd at Nationals. Greg Borowski, Kent Yunker and Jeff Slovick are praised as the best clowns in show skiing for their original and entertaining performances.

1978
The year 1978 saw another Aquanut innovation with the conversion of a boat into a “spaceship” that the Jump Team and Clowns came skiing out of. It was a crowd favorite! We retained first at State and second at Nationals with the Ballet Line being awarded Best in Competition.

1979

Mercury Outboards became the club's sponsor in 1979 and supplied accessories for all team boats. More seating was added to the show site by terracing the area with railroad ties. We continued our innovative tradition as we introduced the first choreographed dance/ski act “Greased Lightning” at the State tournament. We retained first at State, the Ballet Line was again awarded Best in Competition and we placed third overall at Nationals.

1980
Three jump boats were purchased from Mercury and the crowd was amazed when the show opened with them sailing over our jump ramp! A new jump and show pier were built and bleachers were added to increase seating capacity. We placed second at State and the Barefoot Line was awarded Best in Competition.

1981

Improvement at the show site continued in 1981 by installing a paved walkway and the addition of more bleachers. A new clown flivver boat was purchased. Tournament results included placing second at State and third at Nationals. Ken Borowski and Kent Yunker, otherwise known as "Bub and Bobo", were awarded the title #1 Clowns at the National Show Tournament.

1982
The team won the First Place title at Nationals for the first time in 1982! "Hooray for Hollywood" was the theme led by show director Adam Yunker. ProLine sponsored the team with ski rope and handles, a permanent equipment storage building was completed and the Aqua-backer Association was formed. Filled with younger skiers, the Junior Team performs their first shows. The Aquanuts hosted the State Barefoot Tournament at Lance Park and a portable jump was built and loaned to the team by Bill Nowak Sr.
After winning State, the team went on to capture the National title in style by making a clean sweep in the Special Awards category. Awards included #1 Boat Driving Team Brian Schaufel and Tig Kerkman; #1 Announcer Larry Anderson; #1 Pick-Up Boat Mike O'Toole and Darren Rohde; #1 Dock Crew Dave Bruyn Jr.; #1 Clowns, Kent Yunker, Ken Borowski, and Jim Wagner; Willa Cook Award for Best Female Skier went to Michelle Kerkman-Cook.

1983

Aquanuts won the highly coveted Triple Crown of Show Skiing in 1983! Garrett Adams was the Show Director with the “Saga of Rock Ridge” western theme and performances were spectacular at every tournament entered. The show opened with a live Country and Western band playing while live chickens and hay bales decorated the new floating stage as props. Colorful screen backdrops depicted the town of Rock Ridge. The choreographed Western Dance Intro and Swivel/Ballet Line outscored all other teams in their respective categories at all three tournaments.

1984
No other team to date has been able to top what was achieved in 1984! The legacy that began in July 1982, when the Aquanuts first won State and Nationals back to back, came to a pinnacle in 1984 when they retained the much sought after TRIPLE CROWN OF SHOW SKIING for the second year in a row, thus accumulating a grand total of eight consecutive first place titles. Under the guidance of Show Director Michelle Cook, the “New Roaring Twenties Review” added a new dimension to the concept of show skiing. Highlights included a Swivel Line of seven ladies, Ramp Master's triple flip and gainer, and the Aquanut's first four-high pyramid. Awards went to #1 Clowns Ken Borowski, Kent Yunker, and Pat Coffey and the Willa Cook Award for Best Female Skier was given to Audrey Dunteman. What a wonderful year!

1985

Brian Schaufel and Brian Sisk co-direct the show and guide the team into three 2nd place finishes. Special Awards Category at Nationals included: Willa Cook Award for Best Female Skier, Chris Little; #1 Boat Driver Brian Schaufel, #1Swiverl Ballet Line, #1 Barefoot Act.

1986
Aquanuts finished first at the Lamb's Farm Tournament and State with the “Time Machine” theme under the direction of Garrett Adams. The Best Boat Driving Team at all three tournaments was Brian Schaufel and Pete Renn. Scott Stevens was awarded the Best Announcer twice and Ballet Line won Best in Competition at State. The jumpers dominated at Nationals and were awarded Best Jump Act in the Nation!

1987

Fifteen men skied barefoot through the show course simultaneously to comprise the Aquanaut's biggest barefoot line yet! New for the team was an all-girl barefoot line. Chris Little won the Best Female Skier Willa Cook Award for the second time. The Best Boat Driving Team at Nationals was awarded to Brian Schaufel, Mike O'Toole, and Todd Forsgren. Once again the Jump Team successfully captured another national award.

1988
Yamaha Outboards sponsored the team in 1988. A new Hydrodyne boat and pick-up boat were purchased. Munson Marine continued their generous support with contributing the use of two boats, numerous skis, ropes, and vests. Season awards results were third place at all three tournaments.

1989

Gotham City, led by Show Director George Mantoan, was the scene for the new show featuring the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin. The caped crusaders were such a favorite with the youngsters that the skiers often had to stay an extra half-hour after the performances just to sign autographs. At the show's end the Bat Dance was so popular that even parents and advisors joined in on the fun. Tournament results were fourth place at Lamb's, third at State, and fourth at Nationals.

1990
Comic book character "Dick Tracy' scored a hit as the 1990 show theme under the direction of DJ Kaelber. Two new Watercraft boats added speed and excitement to the performances and complemented the twin-rigged Yamaha 200's on the Hydrodyne. Tournament results were fifth place at the Lamb's Family contest, third at State, and eleventh place at Nationals.

1991

Changes for this year included the installation of a new jump and a brand new sign at the entrance to Lance Park. Peter Renn Jr., as Show Director, orchestrated this “Top Gun” season. A first for the Aquanuts was executing a 4-high pyramid at Lamb's Farm. At State, the team skied in the fog and the crowd excitedly cheered as they emerged from the mist with yet another 4-high pyramid. The glow of light reflecting off the neon costumes added to the scene. Tournament results for the year were a fifth place at Lamb's Farm, third place at State and fifth place finish at Nationals.

1992
In 1992, Aquanuts celebrated 20 years of show skiing! They made history again by building their biggest pyramid ever, a 4-high flanked on each side by a 3-high tower! That's a total of 24 people on the water behind the Hydrodyne! Peter Renn Jr. directed the team as they placed fifth at Lamb's, third at State, and sixth at Nationals. The year ended with a reunion of the Aquanut Alumni as they celebrated the 20th anniversary in style! A special show brought in the biggest audience of the summer as people came from all over the country to watch the "old-timers” ski. The alumni proved they still had it as they beat the "young" Aquanuts in a football game the next day.

1993

The Aquanuts got a new look! Major improvements included landscaping, new staging area, painting and carpet inside the Scout House, new equipment and new costumes! A brand new jump surface just like the one used by the pro tour added a new dimension to the Jump Act. With Carrie Michael as the Show Director, they finished a solid third place at all three tournaments with the "Ultimate Game Show" as the theme. At Lamb's Farm the Barefoot Line won the award for the highest scoring barefoot act. Kevin Michael became the first Aquanut to win the "Skip Gilkerson Award" for Outstanding Male Skier at Nationals.

1994
Highlights of the show were "Robo Driver" Brian Schaufel and the grand finale twin 4-tier pyramids. Built four levels high and 24 people strong, only one other team at the national tournament was able to successfully complete a pyramid with this degree of difficulty! Directed by Carrie Michael, the team finished third at State and fifth at Nationals. Sponsors were Mercury Outboards & Hydrodyne Boats through Twin Lakes Marine, and Connelly skis through Munson Marine. The futuristic theme, narrated by Scott Stevens, told the story of a mad scientist/inventor who saved the day with his invention of "Robo Driver".

1995

Nostalgia and old time Rock-n-Roll permeated the atmosphere as the Aquanuts took "A Trip Down Memory Lane" and revisited the era of the golden oldies. The story rotated around life at the "Aquanut Diner" complete with a soda fountain, car hops, and a visit from Johnny B. and the boys. Bruce Brenner directed the show to a third place finish at Lamb's Farm, third place at State, & fifth place finish at Nationals. The pyramid team took "High" honors when they were awarded The Highest Scoring Act at The Lamb's Farm Tournament. Again at Nationals, the pyramid made a strong showing with a new record for the 4-high pyramid comprised of 28 people! The pyramid was the only "mega 4-high" to perform without any major falls! CONGRATULATIONS!!

1996
New sponsors Munson Ski & Inboard Water Sports of Volo, IL, provided two Malibu boats and Baker Marine Support of Antioch, IL, provided the outboard power of Evinrude motors. Jeff Welling directed the senior team in "Gone Fishin", featuring Bruce Brenner as Earl the clown and his sidekick Luke Welling. The audience enjoyed the antics of Bruce and Luke during the ongoing preshow conflict involving the clown fisherman with their rowboat and Brian Schaufel with his twin rig. The team finished third place at Lamb's Farm where Brian and the crew were awarded 1st place for Boat Driving. The team finished third at State and sixth at Nationals.

1997

Aquanuts began to celebrate their 25th Anniversary with an all-star alumni show only to have mother nature intervene with severe weather forcing postponement of the show until the following year. The first ever Triple Rigged Hydrodyne in amateur competition made its debut in the Aquanut's show with none other than 1977 Show Director Brian Schaufel at the helm. Powered by triple V6 Evinrude Intruders, this machine turned more than a few heads when it took to the water.

1998
Aquanuts launched their own website, www.aquanutwatershows.com and the cancelled 25th Anniversary show from the previous year took place under beautiful weather.

1999

The Junior Team, under the direction of Brenda Genengles, grew to over 45 members. The Senior Team, having lost several members to the pro ranks, went on to perform shows themed Aquanut Fever placing well in the State and National tournaments.

2000
Current and Alumni members were invited by the government of China to participate in a joint presentation of ski shows. Fifteen members left for a 21-day visit to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Aquanuts rolled out Bo Bo's Beach Bar under the leadership of Ken Meyer. The team placed fifth at State and 10th at Nationals.

2001

Aquanuts took a trip back to the past using a show theme that won the triple crown in 1984, The Roaring Twenties. After placing third at State, the team advanced to Nationals, where they placed eighth. Most notably, the repeated show theme won the Sea World’s Award "Best Presentation of a Show Theme".

2002
Ken Meyer, in his third year as Show Director, took the team to a little western town called Consumption Junction and the Aquanuts celebrated their 30th Anniversary. In June the team competed in the Mercury Invitational for the first time placing third. The Wisconsin State Show Tournament was a very successful showing for the Aquanuts by placing fourth overall. Awards went to the Aquanuts for Best Ballet Line and to Aquanut Danny Amir for Best Trick Skier.

2003

The show theme took Aquanuts to the Army, where Chris Kadera led a not-so-disciplined group of soldiers in preparation for an inspection by the infamous Major Tweed. In June, they competed in the Mercury Invitational, placing third. In July, they were very successful raising money for the MACC fund through a benefit show in memory of Cheri Amore. The team competed in the Wisconsin State Show Tournament, placing fourth and the National Tournament in Loves Park placing ninth.

2004
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games inspired the Aquanuts to take a trip back to Ancient Greece for a Competition of the Gods. Eric Fauth led the team to State and Nationals as the Show Director in spite of losing half of the season to the closure of Lake Mary because of record rain falls.

2005

Paul Weiler, who brought Aquanut spirit as Show Director, ventured back to the 70's at P Dubs Car Wash. This show led the team to the best tournament finishes in 20 years. The team placed second overall at State, and won individual awards for #1 Ballet Line, #1 Jump Act, #1 Trick Skier and #1 Rope and Dock. They placed second overall at Nationals and won individual awards for #1 Ballet Line and #1 Jump Act.

2006
Eric Fauth directed the show themed "Aquanut Vice". Based on the 80's hit show Miami Vice, the Aquanuts placed fourth at State and fifth at Nationals in one of the most competitive years show skiing had seen. Once again Danny Amir won the Best Wisconsin State Trick Skier award.

2007

Veteran show director and skier Ken Meyer resurrected an Aquanut classic, "Charlie Tuna," with the sequel, "Charlie's Revenge."

2008
First-time show director Jordan Shulda rocked the waters with the show "WNUTZ".

2009

Bringing back another Aquanut favorite theme, "Aquanut Laboratories", Show Director Andy Amore carried the team through it's “growing year”!

2010
The Village of Twin Lakes provided major renovations to the seating area of Lance Park. Second-year show director Andy Amore brought another year of young skiers through a fun season. The Ballet Line finished in first place at the Wisconsin State Tournament and first place at the National Tournament with its 22 beautiful ladies.

2011

The year 2011 marked the first time in several years the Aquanuts skied in three tournaments during the season. With Show Director Mike Pierce and his themed Aquanuts Roller-disco, the Aquanuts made a strong finish at the Mercury Open and set the stage for a great State Tournament and a fifth place finish. At the National Tournament, the team placed eighth overall. Once again, the ladies retained their title of Best Ballet Line at State and Nationals. Individual highlights were Kaila Coffey and Kendall Krieger in the Wisconsin State Tournament and Nationals. Fourteen year-old Jarad Meyer won the Best Trick Skier Award at State.

2012
After 40 years the Aquanuts had much to celebrate! Show director Andy Amore and Ken Meyer brought two old favorites to life with Rock Ridge and Charlie Tuna. The show was fourth at State and fifth at Nationals. At Nationals, the Aquanut 30-girl Ballet Line, which scored 481 points, was the second highest scoring act ever in show skiing, and included performing a thread-the-needle quick pick act that wowed the audience. Jarad Meyer was Wisconsin’s Best Trick Skier for the second time. Ariana Koehler was awarded the Jennifer Dibble/Michelle Cook Most Valuable Female Skier. Wisconsin State Swivel Awards went to Kendall Krieger who placed second, Kaila Coffey who placed fourth and Olivia Shulda who placed fifth.

2013

A spectacular year for the Nuts was definitely 2013. The Aquanut Rock Show, led by Show Director Dave Thornton, rocked into second place at the Mercury Invitational, fifth place at Wisconsin State and third place at Nationals in Loves Park, IL. The 30-girl Ballet Line was again National Champion and highest scoring act at Nationals while the 26-girl Ballet Line was State Champion. The Aquanuts performed the State Tournament’s Most Creative/Original Act with a “Barefoot Pyramid Plunge”, performed by 6 team members: Dave Thornton, Aaron Nelson, Brandon Kirchens, Collin Barber, Kailey and Ariana Koehler. Kailey Koehler was named the Jennifer Dibble/Michelle Cook Most Valuable Female Skier. Aaron Nelson was the Mark Black Memorial Outstanding Trick Skier. Swivel Ladies Kendall Krieger, Kaila Coffey and Olivia Shulda placed second, third and ninth at state, respectively. The entire team worked together to build three, four-high pyramids as the show-stopper at Nationals using the new barge. Cody Coffey Wake Boarding and Kailey and Ariana Koehler’s Barefoot Act were the highest scoring acts at the Mercury Open along with the 25-girl Ballet Line. The Rope and Dock Team directed by Lynn Renn and consisting of Anthony and Emily Renn, Ethan Shulda, Zach Brumm, Asa Neal, Mason Hedrick Pat and Lisa Kirchens, tied for first place. Also at Nationals, star swivel lady, Kendall Krieger, placed third, which was an Aquanut first! Lastly, Aquanut sisters Ariana and Kailey Koehler were named to the 2014 USA Waterski Show Team.

2014
2014 was a stellar year for the Aquanuts, both as a team and on an individual level. Show director David Thornton and Toni Snow put together a show that was action packed around the theme “Land of the Lost Nut”. The show combined the humor of Aquanut Labs and time machine travel, back to the 1970s. The team placed second in the Wisconsin State tournament and finished third at Nationals in Janesville. Sisters Ariana and Kailey Koehler, and Collin Barber obtained the highest scoring barefoot act award at State. The Aquanut ballet line placed first at the Wisconsin State Show tournament with a 28 girl ballet line, quick pick act. A 26 girl ballet line was crowned National champions for the fifth year running at the National Show Tournament. The 16 girl swivel act was the highest scoring swivel act at State and Nationals. The Aquanut swivel ladies won the Best Swivel Award at the National tournament, another Aquanut first! Kendall Krieger was the Jennifer Dibble-Woods/Michelle Cook Award winner at the Wisconsin State Show Tournament for most valuable female skier. At the National Show Tournament she won the Willa Cook Award. Aquanut swivel stars took center stage at State and National individual tournaments as well. Kendall Krieger was the Wisconsin State and National Swivel Champion, both titles are Aquanut firsts. Kaila Coffey was second at the Wisconsin State individual swivel competition, giving the Aquanuts bragging rights to another Aquanut first, a one-two swivel finish. The Aquanuts were honored to send a four high pyramid to the opening ceremony of the 2014 Worlds, also held in Janesville. In addition to this honor, the Aquanuts were represented by sisters Ariana and Kailey Koehler, and Kendall Krieger on the USA Water Ski Show Team, which placed first in World Competition. Kailey was named the most valuable female performer of the USA Team, which is also an Aquanut first. Finally, Kendall Krieger won "Best Overall Female Award" from the National Show Ski Association, and Kailey Koehler was named “Female Athlete of the Year” by the American Barefoot Center.

2015

The year 2015 was spectacular for the Aquanuts as they were awarded the title D1 National Champion Show Ski Team! The team’s trip to the national tournament in Janesville, WI was a dream come true by executing a near flawless performance, and achieving a first place finish. The show’s theme, created by Show Director Ken Meyer and Justin Mushel, was centered around the 1978 comedy movie Animal House and the comedic exchanges between the administration and students of the campus “frat house”. To start the tournament season, the Aquanuts competed in June at the Mercury Invitational in Janesville, WI placing third overall. In July, they competed at the 49th annual Wisconsin Water Ski Show Championships in Wisconsin Rapids on Lake Wazeecha and placed third. An award was presented to swivel skier Kaila Coffey who placed second in the Individual Swivel Competition. The Back Barefoot Circle Act, performed by Kailey Koehler, (ranked #1 in USA, #3 World-ranked bare-footer), her sister Ariana Koehler (ranked #3 in USA) and Collin Barber, was the highest scoring barefoot act at the weekend competition. In addition, Kailey Koehler was named the 2015 Jennifer Dibble-Woods/Michelle Cook Award winner for the most outstanding female skier of the competition. An Aquanut member has held this award for four years in a row. The season’s highlight was winning the National Team Title in August at the 4first Indmar Marine Engines Division 1 Show Ski Nationals, a feat that last occurred 31 years ago in 1984. The Aquanuts won Best Ballet Line for the fifth year running. The 31-person ballet line consisted of 9 ladies swiveling, followed by a “thread-the-needle quick pick up” of the remaining 22 ladies. Kailey Koehler and her difficult backward barefoot circles won the Best Barefoot Act of the tournament. Kailey barefooted backwards four times around the show course and ended in a well-deserved standing ovation. The Aquanuts also won the award for Best Swivel Act. With 2014 National Champion Kendall Krieger and nationally ranked skier Kaila Coffey (ranked #3 in USA) as anchors, they were followed by a 360° swivel line and 180° swivel line of ladies. Together this is the largest swivel act in the nation with 14 women strong. The team completed two grand pyramids. The show started with a double top, four-high pyramid and closed with three, four-high pyramids comprised of 36 team members. The Men’s Variety Act, which had wowed the opening of every show all season long, was also a high-scoring act. It included members Ethan Shulda, David Thornton, Jarad Meyer, Brandon Kirchens, and Collin Barber. In December, the Aquanuts were officially named by USA Water Ski - National Show Ski Team of the Year. Three of our talented ladies are again named to the USA Show Skiing Team: Kendall Krieger, Ariana Koehler, and Kailey Koehler. What an incredible year!

2016

The reigning National Champions skied with extra passion during the 2016 season, under the direction of show director Justin Mushel and Holly Heeter. The show’s theme was “Ski or Sink.” The Aquanuts had many highlights during 2016. The Aquanuts placed third, at the season opener, Mercury Open Invite in Janesville, WI. The Aquanut trip to State, in Wisconsin Rapids, delivered a third place finish, with only 200 points separating the top three teams. Aquanut star swiveler, Kaila Coffey, placed third in the individual competition. Ethan Shulda was named the Mark Black Best Trick Skier, adding to the long list of Aquanuts that hold that title. (Jordan Shulda, Jarad Meyer, Danny Amir, and Aaron Nelson) The team placed 4th at Nationals. Aquanut High Light for this season was the development of a 5 High Pyramid, an Aquanut first. Members of the pyramid team, and winners of the “Pyramid Team Work” Award, are: Greta Rzonca, Joy Heeter, Brynn Cahill, Caroline Lenz, Amber Kirchens, Colleen Amore, Maddie Lenz, Kendall Krieger, Holly Heeter, Jenna Meyer, Lynn Renn, Katie Hanely, Eric Fauth, Austin Hedrick, Alex Kieler, Kevin Fleischman, Tim Heeter, Brandon Kirchens, Matt Brumm, Zach Brumm, Aaron Nelson, Dylan Gronset, and Brent Buntrock. Kailey Koehler won Best Barefoot Act at Nationals with her “Barefoot Tornadoes”, which consisted of 4 circles around the show course. Aquanut swivel star, Kaila Coffey, placed 4th in the individual swivel contest. The ladies ballet line skied 29 girls strong for Nationals. Three of our talented ladies again represented the USA at 2016 worlds: Kailey Koehler, Ariana Kohler and Kendall Krieger.