Fast on the Water
Tawn Larsen won Women’s world tricks titles in 1989, 1991, 1995 and 1999, and she was a seven-time Masters’ champion and seven-time U.S. Open champion. She set four world records throughout her 20-year, and held the world record of 8,630 points from 1999 until June 2006.
“Winning my first Worlds and setting the world record were definitely my biggest career highlights,” Larsen said upon learning she was being inducted into the American Water Ski Educational Foundation’s Water Ski Hall of Fame alongside her twin sister, Britt. “But I have a lot of special memories. It’s a great honor to be inducted into the hall of fame. It feels like the closing to a great chapter of my life.”
That chapter began when Tawn and Britt were 6 years old. Their father, Brent, has the pages to prove it. They are the training logs he made during the days he spent teaching his daughters tricks water skiing on a small lake in Madison, Wis. His notes – the weather and temperature on those days, the length of practice and every flip or spin accomplished – detailed every practice the girls had from age 6 to 18.
Just a few years after she began competing at age 10, Larsen quickly became known for being a little faster on the water than her competitors. Where someone else may have executed 12 or 13 tricks in a 20-second pass, Larsen-Hahn would perform 16 or 17, with each garnering more points.
Larsen was a member of the U.S. Junior Water Ski Team in 1986 and was a five-time member of the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team. She won the 1983 national Girls’ tricks title, and the national Open Women tricks title in 1985, 1988, 1989 and 1996.
In the midst of winning titles, setting records and eventually getting married and raising a family, Larsen's life never changed in one respect – she always worked hard to reach her goals. There is no better proof of that than what occurred in the summer of 1999. A week after being passed up for the U.S. Pan American Games Water Ski Team, Larsen broke her own world record with a mark that would stand for the next seven years. And a month after being passed up for the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team, Larsen won her fourth career world title. Larsen's 1999 season was as close to perfection as anyone can hope to attain in a year. She won all nine tournaments she competed in and fell only twice, both times on her last trick. “I felt like I was in such a groove that falling wasn’t even a possibility,” she said at the end of that season. “I worked very hard to have the best year of my career, and everything seemed so easy.”
At the time of her induction, Larsen was living in Southport, Conn., with her husband, Jim Hahn, and their five children, including two sets of twins.