Cole and Taryn Grant continue to make their mark in the water-skiing world.
The siblings — who are both currently based in Orlando, Fla. — recently received recognition from Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada.
Cole, 28, has won WSWC’s 2020 coach of the year award, and Taryn, 26, has won WSWC’s 2020 female water ski athlete of the year award. The brother-and-sister duo are originally from Southland Park.
According to the organization’s website, Cole — who is currently enrolled in a coaching diploma program — has managed to continue working with several of the next generation of Canadian junior skiers during the pandemic to prepare them for a number of upcoming international events this year.
In response to the recent announcement, Cole told The Lance he’s honoured to win the award.
"It’s a big honour to have won the WSWC Steve Bush coach of the year award," Cole said. "It’s an award that has been won by so many great coaches, including my mentors."
Cole is currently a coach at Matt Rini’s Waterski School in Orlando — a nurturing environment that he thrives in.
"We have people travel from all over to come and ski with us for a few days to a few months at a time," Cole said.
"We have people learning and just getting started to veteran professional athletes and world record holders. I am also part of the Canadian national team staff that takes me to international events supporting Canadian national team skiers, and I’m also involved with the junior national team. So, my coaching involves a little bit of both Canadian teams, and individual athletes from around the world at our school in Orlando."
"I am fortunate that I love what I do, and I get to hang out at the lake every day helping people learn, grow and reach their goals," he added.
Cole said because of the pandemic, many events were cancelled or postponed this year, which means 2021 is shaping up to be a busy year for international events.
Last year, officials say, Taryn set a new Canadian open women’s record jump of 53.2 metres, and she was ranked fifth in the world at press time. She said she’s also honoured to receive the award.
"When I found out, it was kind of a shock to me as I had no idea, but it’s definitely an honour to receive the award knowing who’s received it in the past," Taryn said.
No stranger to competition, Taryn has represented Canada at international events, and in May she registered a jump of 48.2 metres at the U.S. Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament that was held in May.
And having now achieved two podium finishes as a professional skier, Taryn is hoping for many more during her career. Her passion for water-skiing, along with her brother’s, dates back to childhood, when her family would spend time at its cabin and on the lake. Her parents are both involved with sport, too.
"Growing up, as a young skier, having it as a family helped me get into, and this created a passion for me," Taryn said.
"Now, I love being part of the water-skiing community, and I love the people involved with the sport. Everyone knows each other, and though you’re sometimes competitors, you’re also friends. It’s a special community that’s allowed me to travel the world. I embrace the sport with my mind, body and soul, and it’s to have Cole beside me, as well."
"Water-skiing has been my life and my passion, and I volunteer, officiate and help organize events when I can. I try to encourage to participate, and it can be a sport for anyone and everyone. Anyone can enjoy the sport, and you don’t have to be young to start," she added.
Taryn is looking forward to competing at the upcoming world championships, which will be held in October in Florida — and potentially maximizing home advantage: "If it’s a lake you’re familiar with, can have an advantage if you train there."
Both siblings were a key part of the water-ski team at the University of Lafayette, which they attended after leaving high school in Winnipeg.
Cole graduated from Linden Christian School, which Taryn also attended before graduating from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate.
Go online at wswc.ca for more information.
Simon Fuller is the reporter/photographer for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.