With a combined 24 world water ski records, Clementine Lucine, Regina Jaquess, and Natallia Berdnikava are laying claim to the sport with an unthinkable level of domination.
Women’s tricks has seen an epic surge in performance in the last few years. It took more than 25 years for the world record to climb from 8,000 to 9,000 points, and only took another two years for it to climb past the 10,000-point benchmark. France’s Clementine Lucine forever changed the sport by eclipsing the 10,000-point barrier in September of 2011 at the Alexis Pickos Open in Santa Rosa, Florida, with her newest world record of 10,040 points.
WATERSKI: Was the 10,000-point mark always in your sights, or did it seem too lofty a goal?
Clementine Lucine: Really, even a year ago I felt it was impossible. I was still so happy to have reached 9,000 points, so I really wasn’t even thinking about 10,000.
WS: When did your shift in thinking occur?
CL: It wasn’t until May of 2011 that I started to think of 10,000 points as a real possibility. I knew I had the tricks, individually. In order to break 10, I figured I’d just have to be superfast and get really lucky. Even in the days before I set the record, I didn’t think it was going to happen so soon. I felt it would take me another year to get my run fast enough to get all my tricks in time.
WS: What about those late-night dreams people hate to talk about — did they ever include you becoming the first woman to hit 10,000 points?
CL: Well, I really wanted to become the first girl to go over 9,000 points, but Natallia (Berdnikava) beat me to that one. So, to be honest, after that I started dreaming about it. I figured 10,000 points would be a better dream to have anyway.
WS: You and Natallia Berdnikava set six world trick records as you progressed from 9,000 to 10,000 points. What role did that rivalry play in your rapid improvement?
CL: She played the biggest role of anyone. Without her battling scores and trading records with me, I’m not certain it would have happened at all. I never would have pushed myself as hard as I did. I’d guess I’d barely be breaking 9,000 and thinking that it was an amazing feat if I didn’t have her driving me.