Auburndale lake is one of the busiest in water sports
AUBURNDALE – After hosting six tournaments in less than eight months – with another 11 slated for 2024 – the Championship Lake at Lake Myrtle Sports Park, a recent addition to Auburndale’s sports business cluster, has quickly paid big dividends.
From the Florida State Championships of the Florida Water Ski Federation in July to the IWWF Barefoot Worlds Open, Under 23 and Juniors in October, the championship lake will be one of the busiest bodies of water in the state.
“And thanks to the hard work of the folks at adaptive water ski organization Ann’s Angels and PCTSM staff, we were just awarded the 27th Disabled Waterski National Championships and Team Trials in September,” said the Director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, Mark Jackson. “This is one of the premier adaptive events in the nation. Those who compete here and win will mostly go on and represent the county on Team USA.”
The event will be Sept. 16-21.
Historically, Polk County has served as the heart of the water ski world, thanks to Cypress Gardens. Many professional tour water skiers either got their start there or worked there during the offseason. Thanks to this long and storied history, more water ski records have been broken on Polk County lakes than anywhere else in the world.
More recently, with the rise of adaptive sports, adaptive water sports have grown. In fact, Team USA took home the gold at the 2023 IWWF Disabled Water Ski World Championships.
“Adaptive athletics are one of the fastest growing segments in the business,” said Jackson. “And nearly 20 percent of the population in the United States suffers from some kind of disability. Athletics not only hones the body, it strengthens the mind and sharpens the spirit – for everyone.”
The history of adaptive sports dates back to the end of World War II, when a veteran who specialized in alpine warfare taught two of his friends – who had lost legs in combat – to ski on one leg. From there, adaptive sports have grown to include a wide variety of games and events for people who have disabilities.