Ten GOODE skiers won slalom titles at the 2020 GOODE Water Ski National Championships held at Tri-Lakes in Zachary, La.
One of those 10 skiers was Florida Southern College’s Kelley Breeden, who earned her third career National title and second Women’s 1 title in the last three years.
GOODE recently chatted with Kelley about what if feels like to be a national champion, how this year was different and what skiing has taught her over the years.
GOODE: How long have you been skiing and how did you get into the sport?
Kelley: I have been skiing since I was seven. I got into it through my dad who was just a river rat back in the day. I was first introduced to competitive waterskiing through Cory Pickos and his ski school.
GOODE: How did you prepare for Nationals? Anything different than in the past?
Kelley: This is the second summer I’ve trained at Lucky Lowe, and this year because of COVID I lived at his ski school. I was able to ski multiple times every day and even on off days I was on the water coaching or trick skiing. It was super helpful just by having a huge amount of time on the water. Lucky is also extremely knowledgeable and has a ton of experience. He is always very positive and looks for the good in every practice.
GOODE: What does it feel like to be “NATIONAL CHAMPION!”?
Kelley: To be a national champion is a pretty cool thing. I definitely think each time you win nationals it’s a little different and means something different. This time I was happy to be able to win it for Lucky and do it with a bigger support system as I trained with some younger kids this summer.
GOODE: Besides winning the National title, what are some other highlights in your skiing career?
Kelley: Obviously, the other national titles [editor's note: Kelley previously won titles in Girls 2 and Women's 1] were a highlight. I’ve also started competing in more pro events the past two years which has been really exciting. Also just being able to compete with the Florida Southern ski team has been really great.
GOODE: Why do you ski?
Kelley: I ski because its fun and it provides a space where I don’t have to think about anything else but skiing. Its like an escape. I don’t have to think about school or grades or any of life’s other problems, just time to focus on skiing and myself. Its very freeing.
GOODE: What’s the most important thing skiing has taught you and/or given you over the years?
Kelley: Skiing has taught me many life lessons, but I think patience is a big one. Lucky talks a lot about trusting the process, and that’s pretty hard when you don’t see improvement sometimes. But that’s kind of how life is. You just have to trust that the process is going to take you in the right direction and that it will lead to improvement even when you can’t see it, so be patient and things will come with time.
GOODE: Who are some people that have been important to your skiing success?
Kelley: Some people that have been important to me in skiing are obviously my mom and dad, Betsy and Wes. They brought me into the sport and dedicated my childhood to it. My first coach, Cory Pickos, was also very pivotal and taught me a lot of basics. Keith Albritton and crew at Lake 38 and the crew at Lake Bradford were also very important in my career as that’s kind of where I grew up skiing in Tallahassee. Nowadays, Lucky Lowe and his family are very important to me and help tremendously. Also, the Florida Southern ski team which have helped me the past four years and become my closest friends.