Young gun rises from deep water
Get knocked down, you get up again ... if you want to be a world champ
SERIOUS injury has not stopped Cooper-Anne Fotheringham’s ambition to become a world-champion water-skier.
The Biggenden champion “bounced back” after a 100kmh smash on the water in April this year, to become Queensland under-19 girls’ champion.
Fotheringham was in Mildura, Victoria, for a weekend of racing, and hit the water for a practice run at 100kmh – or so she thought.
“I came off because they took me over speed – I was taken at 65mph, (and) I wasn’t wearing a neck brace,” Fotheringham said.
“It pulled the muscles off the spine; I was paralysed for 20-30 minutes.”
With her helmet broken, swollen ankles and a bruised back, she was taken to a camping site where a helicopter couldn’t land, she said.
Emergency services made it through the scrub to rescue her, and take her to hospital.
Her father, Dean Fotheringham, said the story went on.
“Against everyone’s will and suggestion to not race on Sunday, Cooper got clearance from another doctor to race on Sunday,” Mr Fotheringham said.
Fotheringham said while she was scared to get back on the skis, she was more scared not to get back on them.
“Instead of doing better (at 60mph), I had to push myself from 60-75mph,” she said.
“You get knocked down, you get straight back up. It’s my dream to be a world champion.” And she’s well on her way. “I’ve applied to go to the airforce as firefighter and emergency responder,” she said.
“The airforce provides support for elite athletes.
“At first I wanted to be an astronaut, (but) mum inspired me to ski and do the airforce.”
The desire to ski began at age five, when the family lived on the Hawkesbury River in Sydney.
“I used to watch – and I’m going to do this race – the Sydney Bridge to Bridge,” she said.
Her dream took a U-turn when they moved into the country five years later, but was rekindled about two years ago when she met Greg Collier, a world champion barefooter, who taught her how to ski again.
In those two years, she’s become Queensland’s Under 19 girls’ champion, and placed second in the Under 19 girls’ Queensland series, a five-race series held from October to July each year.
Fotheringham’s next event will be at Moogerah Dam this weekend.
CHAMPION: Cooper-Anne Fotheringham, of Biggenden, is Queensland's top Under-19 waterskier.