Alex Lauretano

At just 25 years old, water skiing jump champion Alex Lauretano is already inspiring young women everywhere: She breaks national records, places at global championships and hooks illustrious sponsors like MasterCraft Boats and Girls4Sports. Not to mention the fact that she never looks less than fabulous. We chatted with her about life on the water and what she does to stay happy and healthy on shore.

How long have you been water skiing?

I learned to water ski when I was three years old. I grew up on a lake in Connecticut, so I was always out on the lake skiing with my family.

When was the moment you really committed to it professionally?

When I was a teenager, it began to get really hard to prepare for international competitions and to keep up with the girls I was competing against who were skiing all year round—the season was just too short up north. So I moved to Florida when I was 16 and did my last year of high school there. It’s definitely the best thing I’ve done for my skiing!

What have been your most personally and professionally satisfying moments?

On a professional level, my most recent satisfying moment was this past July at the Stillwater Lakes State Warm-up when I broke the U.S. National Jump Record! It’s not a pro event, but it tests record capability. What makes it even better is that I tore my MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) last year, so I had a pretty slow start to the season until now. On a personal level, it was watching my boyfriend (Adam Sedlmajer) win the World Overall Championships for men’s water skiing in 2011.

Where is your favorite place to compete?

My favorite tournament is the Moomba Masters in Melbourne, Australia. It’s held on the Yarra River, which weaves through the city, and is part of the Moomba Water Festival. There’s always a big crowd and it’s a lot of fun. Those of us who compete are lucky that we get to travel a lot, but there’s not much time to sightsee!

You grew up balancing school and competition. What was that like?

It was hard, and I had to jump around a lot after high school. I started at Florida Southern College, and then did University of Phoenix (online), then finished at University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). I went to FSC and ULM because they have good ski teams, and I had some great training opportunities there. However, I was already skiing in pro events—you can do that in water skiing because it’s not an NCAA sport—so I put my pro career first and skied collegiately when I could.

Do you have a personal life philosophy?

Do what you love; love what you do!

Is there a certain hairstyle that’s most functional for competing? What about day-to-day wear?

My hair has to be out of my face when I ski, so I usually just have it in a ponytail or bun. Day-to-day, I like to wear it down or with some kind of little braid.

Do you have any sports or style icons that you admire?

I was a gymnast growing up, and I always loved Nadia Comaneci. She is such an icon for me, and then I got to meet her at a Women in Sport conference. That was really awesome.

Besides your skis, what’s something you can’t live without?

My dog, Rocco!

What do you do for fun off the water?

I love to do yoga, surf, go to the movies, travel and drink wine.

Right now, what’s something besides skiing that you’re really excited about?

I’m on the board of an association called Girls That Fly, an organization started by a group of us professional women jumpers. You can be a member on a few different levels, and most of them include coaching tips from the pro jumper of your choice and attendance at GTF or merchandise-hosted clinics or tournaments. At a higher level, there’s a membership for the pro girls that includes a contract with a sports agent. Even though we’re relatively new, one of our primary goals is to encourage young girls who are potential jumpers. We want to promote the event and the extreme athletes we are.
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