Jaquess brings home the gold, again

Tina Harbuck
Regina Jaquess from Santa Rosa Beach during the Slalom Waterskiing competition at the Laguna Bujama at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. [GABRIEL HEUSI - LIMA 2019 /CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Even a week after capturing three gold medals in the Pan American Games, the excitement could still be heard in her voice as she talked about the experience.

“It’s an event like none other,” said Regina Jaquess, who represented team USA in the water skiing events in the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Not only did the 35-year-old Jaquess of Santa Rosa Beach win the gold in jumping, but this was her fourth time in a row to bring home the gold from the Pan Am Games in jumping.

The Pan Am Games are held every four years, which makes it a 16-year stint of being at the top.

“I guess I’m a veteran,” she laughed and said.

This was actually Jaquess’ fifth time to be a part of team USA at the Pan Am Games. Her first was in 2003 at the Dominican Republic followed by Brazil in 2007 then Mexico 2011, Canada 2015 and now Lima, Peru 2019. And Jaquess has made the podium every time capturing nine gold medals, four silvers and three bronze.

“I’m very blessed to do it without injury,” she said.

This year, in addition to taking the gold in jump, she earned the gold in slalom and overall.

“My best event is slalom, but I’ve been right there in jump,” she added.

But she works as hard off the water as on the water. In the winter months she hits the gym five to six times a week and then pulls back in the summer once competitions begin.

And the Pan Am Games marks the beginning of the major tournaments.

“It’s a great experience going over with all the other athletes,” she said.

The Pan Am Games similar to the Olympics and featured 419 events in 39 sports including diving, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, weightlifting, water skiing to name a few.

The games also have an opening ceremony similar to the Olympics.

“It was a unique experience to walk in with everybody for the opening ceremonies. We all had our blue jackets on … you just saw this blue wave. It’s the closest thing to an Olympic moment,” Jaquess said.

And the medals, “they’re beautiful,” she said, noting how heavy they are.

Jaquess said she tells young skiers the one team you want to make is the Pan Am team because of the unique experience.

At the games, each country has its own village.

“It’s a crazy experience … you’re surrounded by multiple athletes,” she said.

At this year’s games, she broke her own record at jump and slalom

“It was a great tournament and great to bring home the gold,” she said.

When home, Jaquess can be found at Emerald Coast Compounding Pharmacy in Santa Rosa Beach, which she owns.

“Everybody was excited when I got home,” she said. “It means so much to come home and know that people are excited for you.

“We live in a great town,” Jaquess added.

Up next for Jaquess is Nationals this week in West Palm Beach, followed by the World Championships on Aug. 13-18 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

“I’ve started off really good … hopefully I’ll have as much success (in the days to come),” she said.