Galston High water skier on top of the world

RACHEL Stapleton loves the adrenalin rush she gets from waterskiing, a sport that "always brings a smile" to her face.

Perhaps that's why she is so good at it.

The Galston High School student, 16, won the junior girls category in the 18th Water Ski Racing World Championships in the Canary Islands, Spain, last September.

And from January 8 to 11 she competed in the Australian Speed and Marathon Waterski Championships in Jindabyne, taking home the winning title in the under 19s marathon race.

After working towards the world championship for three years, training off the coast of Sydney to replicate ocean conditions, Rachel said winning was an "amazing feeling".

"Knowing all the work paid-off was very fulfilling," she said.

"What really blew me away was how different racing was overseas; dealing with different waters, competing against other countries, the atmosphere, the crowds and foreign languages, everything was just on such a bigger scale than what we are used to in Australia.

"The competition was tough and luckily I had a nice point lead at the end of the event to secure the win."

Rachel won with her three best rounds, of four, totalling 2998.51 points.

Second place went to another Australian, Ellen Jones, whose three best rounds totalled 2968.94 points.

"I know Ellen very well and we've raced many times before," she said.

"We are rivals on the water but it was nice knowing another Australian girl was standing next to me on the podium."

Last week she won the 42-kilometre marathon race in Jindabyne with a time of 00:35:06.

Her father Darren Stapleton was driving her boat.

"Marathon is a tough race, very physically demanding and mentally challenging," she said.

"It takes the whole team and we were all stoked after the race."

Since the age of four, Rachel has spent most of her summers "social skiing" with her family, but she didn't start competing until she was 12.

And she doesn't plan to stop.

She is already training for the open women's division of the next world championship in two years.

She trains on and off the water and attends group boot camps.

"I train off the coast of Sydney behind our family race boat 'Still Sparken', and mostly I just try to do what I can in between studying."

Rachel will next compete in what she describes as "the biggest race" in Australia: the Southern 80 Ski Race on the Murray River in the town of Echuca on February 9.

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