Behind every great skier, there’s a coach. Luckily for Ruth McCreary, her coach, Chet Raley, happens to be one of the best. In July, the skier-coach duo broke national slalom records in their respective divisions (Girls 2 and Men’s 5) at Cedar Ridge Lake in Canton, Mississippi. Here’s what the record holders had to say about their all-star performances.
By Brooks Wilson
|“Instead of training differently as I enter a tournament, I’ve changed my focus,” Raley says. “While some people want to peak right before a big event, I focus on training hard constantly and peaking as many times as I can throughout the year, so I’m always at my best.”
|“I try to ski at least six days a week and work really hard to ski my best every time I’m on the water,” McCreary says. She has a solid training schedule, which includes four trips to Raley’s place every year, followed by intense training at Ski Haven, in Texas.
|Anyone who has skied with Raley would describe him as ef ective. Every movement he makes on his ski has a purpose and is benefcial to his pass. He focuses on skiing behind the boat with, as he puts it, a “position that matters” — that could be the perfect motto for Raley.
|McCreary’s style has been described as tenacious: She always does what it takes to get to the next bouy and make the pass. A mixture of Regina Jaquess and Karen Truelove is an easy description of this young girl, who always skis tough and accepts the challenge of the course.
|“I’m a coach first and a skier second,” Raley says. His devotion to the athletes he coaches is second to none. His attention to detail and continual drive to make skiers better has made him one of the most sought-after coaches around.
|“Training with Chet has been a huge part of my success,” McCreary says. “I skied with him seven years ago for the first time, and since then he’s continued to make me a better skier. The way Chet explains things makes it easy to put into practice.”
|“Well, it took me 12 years to get from 2 at 41 to 3 at 41, but I never quit believing I could do it,” Raley says. One month after his record breaking performance, he finished fourth place at the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour finals. We’d say he’s equally competent in the boat and skiing behind it.
|“Breaking the record was a huge relief — I was so ready to have the record under my belt that I threwthe first as I rounded 4 ball at 38 of ,” McCreary says. With skiing like that at only 14 years old, we expect many more records from her in years to come.