Jenny Kaldor walks the halls of Osseo Senior High School like every other student. The upcoming senior is going out for the OHS girls’ tennis team, is on the Senior Leadership Team, is a part of National Honor Society and has a 3.7 GPA. She’s an ordinary kid by most accounts. What many of her classmates don’t know, however, is that Kaldor is a world-class water skier with a long list of national accomplishments to her name.
“It’s very interesting. When I try to tell my friends about water skiing, they don’t quite understand. No one knows anything about it,” says Kaldor. Despite finding herself on top of a sport that tends to go under most people’s radar, she remains supremely dedicated. Whether it means training in Florida and corresponding with her teachers long distance or pulling on a dry suit during the cold days of early spring to head out on the lake, Kaldor has proven to have the right stuff.
An Early Start
Kaldor’s dad, also a competitive skier, got his daughter started when she was three, pulling her on mini trainer skis on shore. As she got older, she graduated to skiing on the boom on the side of the boat and then eventually behind the boat. “I remember being scared the first time, but then after a couple times, I enjoyed it and loved it,” says Kaldor.
Since meeting 7 year-old Kaldor at the Minnesota Water Ski Junior Development Camp in 2000, Darren Janzig has taken on the role of her coach. “She’s a good athlete and she always has been,” says Janzig, a nationally recognized water skier himself. “She’s very humble. You’d never know she was capable of doing what she does.”
With the help of Janzig, Kaldor has steadily improved since earning her first trophy in a tournament at age 7. As the competition has gotten tougher, she has too. From May to September, Kaldor visits Janzig in Center City twice a week to practice on a man-made ski lake. The rest of the week, she trains on her home water—Maple Grove’s Cedar Island Lake.
Although many of her southern counterparts get the entire year to train, Kaldor manages to make the Minnesota seasons work for her. While ice and snow cover the lakes of the Midwest, Kaldor heads to Florida to train for about six weeks each winter and spring. But she doesn’t let travel interfere with her priorities. “I’m taking three online classes and three at my high school,” Kaldor explains. “My teachers have been really good about sending me homework, and I send it back.”
In addition to her training, Kaldor flies around the country to catch up with the best competition in the nation. “It’s a fun experience,” she says. “Traveling gives me the opportunity to meet skiers from all over the United States.”
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