Standing on the start dock next to Team Nautique skier Whitney McClintock, you can’t deny her focus and confidence as she takes the water at the world’s most elite events. Her dedication and drive to be the best is unmatched anywhere in the world, and it shows. As she prepares for the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico set to begin on October 13th; Whitney is coming off of her most successful year yet, winning six events and setting a pending overall world record last month at the Canadian National Championships.
Nautique had the opportunity to sit down with Whitney in between training sessions at Matt Rini’s Water Ski School in Orlando, Florida to talk about her season and the secrets to her success.
Nautique: Whitney, what were your main goals coming into the 2011 season?
Whitney: “The World Championships were held this year so my main focus was to ski as well as I can and constantly improve my game. I really focused on running 39 every time and learning new tricks. I wanted to break world records, so this season everything I did was concentrated on achieving that goal”.
Nautique: After having such a successful 2010 season, do you think that momentum and confidence helped you coming into this year?
Whitney: “Definitely, coming off of a successful 2010 season and then winning tricks at the Masters really set the pace for me for the rest of the year. Confidence is huge. I know I ski every day with the best coach in the world and I felt confident every day in practice. Going into competitions this year I just focused on myself and not on everybody else. In past years I think I focused a little too hard on beating this person, or that person, but when I just focused on myself and focused on my skiing, everything worked a lot better”.
Nautique: We definitely saw a confident, calm, cool, and collected Whitney McClintock on the start dock at Masters this year. Is that demeanor something you’ve always had going into competitions or has it come with time and experience?
“Whit is the most focused athlete I have ever worked with. After some success a couple of years ago on the pro scene we decided we needed to dig deeper into every aspect of her on and off water program to reach her new goals. The amount of hard work she has poured into her skiing over the last 24 months is staggering. Hard work, dedication, passion, and persistence are Whit’s secrets to her dominating season”. – Matt Rini
Whitney: “I’ve always had butterflies standing on the dock but this summer standing on the dock I’ve just felt a lot more comfortable. I still have butterflies but it’s not to the point that I can’t calm myself down. Matt has really helped with that because he makes sure I train like I ski in tournaments. I don’t get five tries at my hardest pass, I have to go out there and do my best on my first try. That accountability before competitions helps because whether I’m at Matt’s skiing or at a tournament I have the same mindset”.
Nautique: You’re entire family has been involved with competitive waterskiing for a long time and they have always supported you. What is it like to now be at the top of your sport and to be able to bring that home to them?
Whitney: “It’s been awesome. My parent’s have supported my brother and I so much and to be able to ski professionally on Team Nautique with my brother and to bring success back home to my Mom and Dad after everything they have done is a great feeling”.
Nautique: What is it like going back home to Canada now and skiing in the Canadian Nationals after you’ve made such a name for yourself across the globe with water skiing?
Whitney: “It’s really cool. I feel like a mini celebrity there. I had press booked every day and I was really excited to be able to do some interviews with the newspapers and television stations up there. The energy with everyone there was amazing and it was the perfect place for me to run 39-off for the first time in competition. I could feel the energy of the crowd and having everybody behind me and wanting me to do well really pushes and motivates me. There’s nothing like it”.
Nautique: How do you think skiing behind the Ski Nautique 200 has benefited you?
Whitney: “I truly believe with my whole heart that the Ski Nautique 200 is the best boat for every event. I love how involved Nautique has been at the tournaments this summer and having the opportunity to ski behind the 200 in competitions more this year has been a blessing. I feel like everywhere we go the Nautique family has been there and available for us and it has been awesome. I’m so comfortable behind the Nautique and being able to ski behind it everyday has helped me progress my skiing a lot in all three events”.