Swerve Watersports and the UM Waterski Team

Swerve Watersports and the UM Waterski Team


This episode of Ski with Wade introduces Mike Bullock, owner of Swerve Watersports in Hillsboro, Tennessee, and his team of young go-getters. The podcast features a background about Swerve, its location, and what it has to offer. Wade also interviews the young collegiate skiers who staff waterski lessons, tournaments, board sports, and the pro shop on Lake Grace.


My recent Ski with Wade podcast took me out to a prime spot: Swerve Water Sports on Lake Grace. Halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville, this is the perfect spot not only because there’s so much to do within a close drive but also because Swerve’s lake is custom-built and fantastic by design!

Surrounded on one side by woods, grass trails, and marsh and the other by nice lake houses, Swerve is an idyllic site. The lake was designed specifically for three-event water skiing with a shallow depth, slopes to eliminate rollers, and is the perfect shape. You’ll also find restaurants and big-name stores less than five minutes away. It’s a relaxed and friendly environment with great skiers coaching fans of all ages.

First up I talk with Leland Rouse and his girlfriend Allie Steele, both University of Cincinnati graduates. Allie studied political science and plans to attend law school next year while Lee explains his health sciences degree, which he’s going to use in the world of sports rehabilitation. They’ve been key in integrating a whole crew of University of Michigan water skiers at Swerve, which we meet next.

The first guy up is someone I’ve known since, well, before he was born. Isaac Moothart is a rising senior at the University of Michigan who is studying computer science. His parents are old friends, so he’s been skiing with me since he was a kid on vacation with his folks in Florida. Isaac is looking to impact people’s lives in a positive way by engineering breakthrough technologies that will make life easier and smarter.

Isaac introduced me to his friend and co-coach, Amelia Hall, also a senior at Michigan. She’s planning a career in medicine, so is currently on a pre-med track with a Biology and International Studies major. Originally from just north of Traverse City, she plans to help people nationally and internationally get quality health care. We talk about a recent digger, which resulted in a ski that flipped around and left a half-inch gash. It’s not an uncommon injury, but no fun all the same. She’ll be back out on the water in no time!

Next up is Jackie Lee, a relative beginner from the mid-Michigan area. She got into water skiing thanks to her boyfriend and transferred to the University of Michigan in part because she’s of Asian descent and really appreciated the diversity Ann Arbor has to offer. She’s majoring in communications and media and is another rising senior. She hopes to go into Human Resources – which she sees as an opportunity to work for inclusivity in the workplace. She tells me a bit about a mishap she had that was similar to Amelia’s and it brings back a few memories of what it felt like to take a tumble.

I talked next with Roy Haggland, who shares a computer science major with Isaac. A healthy scholarship will enable him to come back to the University of Michigan and compete one year beyond graduation, so that’s pretty cool. He’s from the Upper Peninsula, where he skied with the “Badwater Ski-ters,” a show team. He brings me up to date on the Michigan team, which has about 40 students on its roster.

Next, I chat with Ellie Roubal, our birthday girl. She’s studying earth and environmental science as a rising junior competing with Michigan’s team. Her dream job is doing