Liz Allan Reid
"Ski Miss in a Hurry!"
When Liz Allen made the decision to retire from active water ski competition in 1975, the world's finest women skiers heaved a collective sigh of relief.
They could hardly be blamed. From the time she won two event victories in her fist national championships at the age of 11 in 1962, Liz had amassed a competitive record that probably will never be matched by another skier, male or female.
In 13 seasons, she won 42 national titles and never failed to win at least two in any year. Three times Liz make a clean sweep of all three events in the Nationals, once a Junior Girl, once in Women's Division competition and a third time after creation of the Open Divisions.
In 1969, Liz won all three events in the Nationals, the World Championships and the Masters, a feat almost without parallel in any sport.
Those first Nationals victories were scored on Robin Lake at Callaway Gardens, a course she was destined to claim as her very own. After warm-up tries in her first two Masters in 1964 and 1965, Liz then proceeded to win the overall title every time she entered this most prestigious of water skiing's invitational events, nine times in all. When Callaway Gardens inaugurated the Masters Cup for women-- to match the Masters Trophy for men-- the intent was to permit retention of either prize by a skier who won a Masters overall crown three times in a row, considered virtually an impossible accomplishment. When Liz retired the Cup in 1968, the Gardens management changed the new Masters Cup and the Masters Trophy to "perpetual" status the following year.
"Ski Miss in a Hurry," an article on Liz published in the April-May, 1965, issue of the Water Skier, proved to be prophetic. The 14-year-old not only breezed through the U.S. Team Trials but hurried off to Australia and the World Championships, returning with the women's overall crown and jumping title as well.
It was the fist of her three world overall championships, and launched her remarkable international career that included an unmatched eight world event titles.
Liz began skiing at the age of five when her family moved to Winter Park, Fla., in 1955 from West Germany where her father, Colonel William D. Allan, was stationed prior to his retirement from the Army Corps of Engineers. Not long after the Allan's' joined a water ski club, Liz became interested in competition. She entered her first tournament in 1961, finishing second in slalom and fourth in tricks. Tournament officials wouldn't permit her to enter jumping because she was too small.
A year later, she met a Junior Girls Division national record of 66 feet.
Jumping quickly became her favorite event, and she demonstrated her enthusiasm by setting one record after another. Liz broke her own junior record twice in 1963, first at 70 feet, then 79 feet. The following year, she established a new Girls Division standard at 100 feet, to become the third female skier in history to join the Century Club. She raised this record to 106 feet at the 1966 Masters. Her string of record-breakers in Women's competition included cracking the 110-foot "barrier" in the '68 Masters and yet another "impossible" mark for women at 125 feet in the 1974 Nationals.
Little less impressive were her consistent victories and records in slalom and tricks. For example, she won slalom six times and tricks on three occasions in the Masters. From the time she entered Women's competition in the Nationals in 1968, she won five slalom titles and seven trick titles prior to her retirement in '75.
Bowing out of competition opened up a whole new area of contribution to water skiing for Liz Allan. For several years prior to her retirement, she and her husband, William B. (George) Shetter, had operated a ski school near Groveland, Fla., but the training center really didn't take off until Liz was able to give it full attention.
Even so, the magic name of Liz Allen from the very first attracted ambitious skiers from all over the world. Her training methods and her one-on-one instruction techniques are credited with the steady improvement in performances of many skiers outside the U.S. as well as within. She also has shared her expertise by writing a regular column for Spray's Water Ski Magazine.
Skiers of both sexes have looked up to Liz as their personal role model, and they could hardly have picked a better one. In addition to her determination and self- discipline on the ski course, she has always displayed modesty and graciousness seldom found in champions under pressure. Although on many occasions she would have been justified in protesting, Liz Allan in all her years of intense competition never once questioned a judge's decision