USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports is happy to announce that Sarah Switzer and Connor Poggetto have been chosen as Female & Male Athletes of the Year, respectively. Athletes of the Year are nominated and voted on by the USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports (USA-AWSWS) Board of Directors and are chosen based on performance throughout the year as well as sportsmanship and involvement in the sport.
Sarah Switzer has been selected as the 2019 Female Athlete of the year following her second World Championships and her second season on Auburn University’s water ski team.
At the World Championships, Switzer won silver in Seated Ladies Jump with a jump of 43 feet, contributing to Team USA’s final score and first place finish. She earned bronze in Seated Ladies Slalom with a final score of 1.5/37 and silver in Seated Ladies Overall with a score of 2,241.36 points. With this final score, she also won bronze in Ladies Overall. In addition, her performance in round one of slalom at the World Championships earned her a new US National Record in Seated Ladies Slalom with a score of 1.5/40/18.25, beating long time record holder Rhonda Jarvis.
In addition, Sarah is one of the first adaptive skiers to ski on a collegiate water ski team and her success at worlds was echoed during her collegiate season. Switzer set a personal tournament best with a 50 ft jump at the Southern Collegiate Regionals and also skied at Collegiate Nationals, tricking 620 points.
Connor Poggetto has been selected as the 2019 Male Athlete of the Year following a record-breaking season and first place finish at the World Championships.
At his 4th World Championships, Connor was the only skier on the US Team whose scores were high enough to contribute to the final team score in all three events. He broke his own trick world record twice, earning a final trick score of 1,810 points, 320 points more than his previous world record. He also had highly competitive performances in both jump and slalom. Poggetto won four individual medals including gold in Seated Men Overall (by over 500 points), silver in Seated Men Tricks, and silver in Seated Men Jump. In addition, he earned the highest team title and highest individual title, winning gold in Team Overall alongside Team USA and was the Overall Tournament Champion, accumulating the largest total number of points across all divisions in both men and women.
In addition to an extraordinary performance at worlds, he was the first seated athlete to be invited to the Nautique Masters, held at Callaway Gardens. He skied exhibition in three events (wake boarding, trick, and jump) alongside some of the best skiers and wake boarders in the world. His performance, while a unscored, proved his skill and increased visibility for the sport as a whole.
Both athletes will be honored at the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Annual Banquet in Lakeland, Florida on January 25, 2020.