MIDDLETON — Robin Gilbert is a “water skiing grandma.”
In fact, she hopes some day she can compete in the same tournament as her 1-year old granddaughter Bailey. The 59-year old has been water skiing since the age of 24. Gilbert married into the sport and hasn’t stopped 35 years later.
“I needed to learn how to drive the boat or find a new boyfriend,” Gilbert said. “When I met my husband he was already a competitive water skier.”
She is strong, quick and pretty much fearless. In the summer, you will find Gilbert across her half-mile-long private lake — Lake Gilbert in Caldwell — practicing four to five times a week.
“Robin is one of the most competitive females that I know,” said Brett Klinchuch, a friend of Gilbert’s.
Outside of the water, Gilbert is the director of instruction and student achievement for the Middleton School District. She’s worked for the district for 33 years.
“I only live three miles from work,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great place to work.”
For Gilbert, waterskiing is family-oriented sport. She and her husband, Tim, raised their son and daughter on the water and they still compete in tournaments.
“It’s cool to do things that I’m able to do with my kids,” Gilbert said. “I can’t wait to get my granddaughter out on the water.”
For Gilbert, water skiing is a sport. Her family has traveled to Florida, Colorado, Washington and California to compete. Her specialty is slalom skiing and she frequently wins smaller tournaments in her division.
“I compete against myself really, and always have the opportunity to challenge my own abilities or the conditions of the day,” Gilbert said. “The skier goes until they fall or miss. Once they do that, the boat wins.”
Besides riding the water Gilbert’s other passion is distance running.
“I hate running,” Gilbert said. “I’m tenacious and love the friends that I have met while running”
Gilbert is going on 17 years of running. She has completed 28 marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice. However, she will give up running in the fall to undergo a hip replacement.
“I have to give up marathoning because it will wear out the new hip too fast,” Gilbert said. “I can continue to water ski and will be back in the water after recovery.”
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