Aquanuts 50th anniversary

This Summer, The Aquanuts are celebrating their 50th anniversary. The water ski show team has been entertaining audiences on Lake Mary for free with award winning shows for decades. On Saturday July 30th, a performance was held including many alumni taking part in the show.

Many .ore photos and info below.

Almost 800 skiers have participated in the Aquanuts. For many of them, it’s a family thing.

The week before, the Aquanuts won the State Championship for the second year in a row. There will be a show Wednesday night, then this weekend, the Aquanuts are off to the National Championships.

Lisa and Justin Mushel hold up the trophy from the state competition

Alumni performed samples of previous shows.

Pat Coffey, Aquanut founders Kent Yunker and Ken Borowski, the very popular and award winning clowns from the first decade or so.
There were presentations at intermission.

The Aquanuts have had many “firsts”.

  • Gary Borkowski first to perform flying dock barefoot start 1975
  • First team to add musical tracks 1975
  • First team to use sound effects and pyrotechnics
  • First team to add choreography to show 1979
  • Originator of hydrodyne boat “tail walker” driver Brian Schaufel 1979
  • Michelle Cook and Ken Borowski originated the vertical split needle doubles move 1980
  • First team to use jump boats 1981
  • First simultaneous ramp flip and gainer, Paul Duneman and Jeff dunteman 1984
  • First team win the triple crown two years in a row 1983-84
  • First team to win eight titles in a row
  • First jumpers to perform triple front flips, Roland and Jeff Dunteman and Brian Sisk. 1984
  • First female barefoot line in amateur competition 1987
  • First junior team to build a four-high pyramid 1996
  • First five-high pyramid 2016

A brief history how the Aquanuts began. They’ve been competitive almost since the beginning, often against larger teams.

1971
Twin Lakes Water Ski Club presented a show Aug 7 at 2 pm Edgewater Beach. There was a club had formed ten years before. This was a new group that was initially called the Twin lakes Water Ski Team. They wanted to do more than just ski.

1972
founded by Karl Schuberth, Gary Borowki, and Kent Yunker
August 5th a 30-act water ski show was presented by the 60 member Twin Lakes Water Ski Club at Edgewater Beach as part of the second annual Twin Lakes Summerfest. The acts included four barefoot skiers, ski jumpers and a kite flyer.

1973
The group appears as the Aquanuts.
show June 30th Edgewater Beach
Village board expressed concern about traffic and policing the show area from outside boaters
show July 28th, noon, Silver Lake
show Aug 4th at 2pm Lance Park
August 11 Lilly Lake
also performed at Nippersink Manor

1974
to use their own tow boat
Six shows at Lance park, 4-5 shows at other locations
The Twin Lakes board denied the Aquanuts use of a firecracker type bomb fo a show on August 18th, snce it doesn’t have enough evidence on the proposed contraption.
show July 27th at Silver Lake
had weekly shows June through mid August
Originally requested 5 shows from the village board, added July 27 and Aug 10

1975
11th place state
8th place nationals

1976
19 shows
5th place nationals
3rd Lambs Farm tournament

1977
1st in state competition (16 teams)
1st place Lambs Invitational
3rd place nationals
best dock and equipment personnel

1978
1st state championships
2nd nationals
The team was welcomed back Sunday night with a parade through the village.

1979
September 1, 1979 was declared Aquanut Water Ski Team Day in Kenosha County by the County Board.
3rd nationals
In April a landscaping plan was approved to terrace the hill for additional seating. The reconstruction and beautification will be funded by the Aquanuts.

1980
Aquanuts have a problem with the Twin Lakes park board. The board stopped the landscaping of the site. Aquanuts President Robert O’Neill addressed the Village board with the support of an overflowing crowd. The park board said they never received approval for phase 2 of the landscaping for the show site. O’Neill said there was nothing but problems with the park board. They were harassed for removal of trees, erection of a flag pole and light, and abandonment of Christmas trees in the show site. O’Neill said they had been offered $10,000 to put on shows in Lake Geneva if the village didn’t want them.
In May, everyone came to an agreement. The Aquanuts could erect bleachers if they furnish the village with a certificate of insurance for $500,000 liability coverage. They could level a 30 x 65 area for the bleachers. They would have to relocate the two evergreens growing in the way. If they die, they have to be replaced. The Aquanuts also receive permission to erect an additional sign posting show time, besides the permanent 4 x 8 sign.

1981 3rd nationals
Aquanuts held a special show to benefit Twin Lakes Fire Department and Rescue Squad. they provided a tanker to water their newly sodded show site and they provide a vehicle to standby during shows in case there is an emergency.

1982
1st nationals
best boat driving: Brian Schaufel and Tig Kerkman
best announcer: Larry Anderson
best pick-up boat: Mike O’Toole and Darren Rohde
best dock crew: Dave Bruyn
best clowns: Kent Yunker, Ken Borowski, Jim Wagner
Willa Cook award to Michelle Kerkman-Cook
show director: Adam Yunker
“Hooray for Hollywood”

1983
1st nationals
special awards: pickup crew and equipment
show director: Garrett Adams
“Saga of Rock Ridge”
1st place state
best announcer: Mike Mecha
best pickup boat crew: Michael O’Toole and Darren Rohde
best ballet line

1984
1st nationals
special awards: clown act, dock and equipment, pick up crew
Audrey Dunteman, swivel skier, won the Willa Cook Award as top Female skier in the country.
Kent Yunker (Bobo), Ken Borowski, (Bub) and Pat Coffey (Bingo) won best clow act.
Michael O’Toole and Darren Rohde best safety boat team.
Dan O’Toole, Cynthia VanCleave and George Mantuan won best dock and equipment crew.
1st Lambs Farm Invitational
1st State Championship
show director – Michelle Kerkman Cook, assisted by Lynn Crowe and Jeff Dunteman.
“New Roaring Twenties Review”
With these victories, that made 8 consecutive titles.
first four-high pyramid

1985
2nd nationals by five points
Christine Little won the Willa Cook Award for outstanding female skier.
Christine Yunker, Mari Yunker, Audrey Dunteman, Tara Hillstrand, and Andrea Cornog won a new award for best swivel ski line
Best tow boat: Brian Schaufel and Peter Renn, assisted by Robert Sisk and Darren Rohde.
best barefoot act: 10-man barefoot line Garrett Adams, Rich Lorenz, Mike Lorenz, Steve Nowack, Peter Rzonc, Bill Bachrodt, D.J. Kaelber, Brian Sisk, Roland Dunteman and Ken Meyer.
show director: Brian Schaufel
2nd place state

1986
2nd nationals
special awards: tow boat driver, jump
“Time Machine”
show director: Garrett Adams
1st place state

1987
3rd nationals
Special awards: tow boat, Brian Schaufel, assisted by Todd Renn (Boat 1) Michael O’Toole, assisted by Brett Forsgren (Boat 2) Todd Forsgren, assisted by Jennifer Burke (Boat 3)
multiple ballet
Christina Little named best female water skier in the country. She is the first female to win the Willa Cook award, twice since its inception in 1981. She and Tara Hillstrand on swivel skis were the highest scoring act.
Best jump act: Matthew Dunteman, Kent Lalonde, Bill Bachrodt, Craig Bachrodt, Mick O’Shea and Garrett Adams.
15 men in the barefoot line
show directors: Brian Schaufel, assisted by Craig Bachrodt and Andrea Cornog

2015
1st place nationals
best swivel team, 14 members, largest in the nation
best ballet line, 31 members
best barefoot Kailey Kohler
show director: Ken Meyer

2019
2nd place nationals
best ballet line
Willa Cook award: Kailey Kohler
Skip Gilkerson award: Ethan Shulda
2nd place state
show directors: Lexi Gaughan and Pete Rzonca
“Life’s a Beach”

2021
1st place state
first time winning state in 35 years
“Ski Jam”
show directors: Dan Boerman and Kailey Koehler
2nd place nationals
five Aquanuts selected for Team USA Cody Coffey, Kaila Coffey, Kailey Koehler, Bob Koehler and Ethan Shulda

2022
1st place state


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