Off to the Races - Brian Derrick '11


Brian Detrick ’11 has been on the water as early as he can remember. His parents were both water skiers and bought lakeside property when Detrick was just over a year old.

Detrick competed in his first water skiing tournament at four-years-old and achieved professional status by the time he was 20. He has been ranked as high as seventh in the world and remained in the top 10 going into 2016, according to the International Waterski Federation.

The crowning achievement of his young career came in August when he won the Open Men’s U.S. National slalom championship at the 74th annual U.S. Water Ski National Championships.

“It all started with my parents,” Detrick said. “My parents were tournament water skiers and involved with USA Water Ski. I’ve been around the sport as long as I can remember.”

His father, Steve, has been Brian’s primary coach for the majority of his career and also serves as his boat driver, which is a critical component to a skier’s success.

The two practice at manmade Shoreline Lake in Elk Grove, the same lake the family moved to when Brian was young, five days a week and this relationship has created a stronger bond between the two.

“Parents have different relationships with their kids but since I took [water skiing] on with more interest, eventually leading to the success that I’ve had, it’s created a good bond with my dad and I,” Brian said. “He’s able to give good feedback and off the water, video as well, he and I will dissect what we’re seeing non the film. He’s watching it and is remembering what he was feeling while he was driving.”

Brian has leaned on Steve to improve his skills throughout his career and water skiing is a sport where a single person cannot go out and practice for the simple reason of needing a boat driver.

“You can’t go out and practice on your own like you can with the more mainstream sports,” Brian said. “That’s where the camaraderie really comes together with our sport. You have to rely on multiple people to participate.”

This was true with fellow skiers, as well. With most of the time at tournaments spent off the water, there is a lot of time to spend around other skiers and the camaraderie is built with them from childhood.

“I can remember when I started getting into tournaments, it was so much fun,” Detrick said of his youth tournaments. “There were a lot of people involved in the sport at the time and a lot of kids. It made it a lot of fun.”