U.S. Elite Water Ski Team Wins Gold Medal At 38th IWWF World Waterski Championships
by USA Water Ski & Wake Sports
The U.S. Elite Water Ski Team won the overall team gold medal and eight U.S. water ski athletes won individual medals in respective events at the 38th IWWF World Waterski Championships, Oct. 10-15, at Jack Travers’ International Tournament Skiing and Sunset Lakes in Groveland, Fla. The United States tallied 8,291.04 points in winning its first world team title since 2017 and 28th since the inception of the biennial tournament. Canada (8,073.01 points), which won the world team title in 2017 and 2019, earned the silver, and France (7,902.44 points) earned the bronze. Great Britain (7,467.07 points) and Chile (7,200.69 points) rounded out the top-five placements. Athletes from 34 countries participated in the tournament.
Members of the 2023 U.S. Elite Water Ski Team were: Anna Gay (Winter Garden, Fla.), Kennedy Hansen (Milton, Fla.), Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.), Erika Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Nate Smith (McCordsville, Ind.). Lori Krueger (Martindale, Texas) was the coach. Lang won the gold medal in women’s tricks; Gay earned the silver in women’s tricks; Jaquess earned the silver in women’s slalom and the bronze in overall; and Krueger earned the silver in men’s jump.
Lang won the gold medal in women’s tricks, scoring 10,400 points in the final. It was her second career (2013) gold medal in the elite world championships. Gay, who won gold medals in 2015, 2019 and 2021, earned the silver medal, scoring 9,980 points. Peru’s Natalia Cuglievan-Wiese earned the bronze medal (9,970 points). Hansen placed 11th (4,700 points).
In men’s tricks, Mexico’s Patricio Font won the gold medal, scoring 12,470 points. France’s Louis Duplan-Fribourg earned the silver medal (11,980 points) and Chile’s Martin Labra earned the bronze (11,610 points). Adam Pickos (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) placed sixth (11,020 points). Font tied his men’s world tricks record with a score of 12,690 points in the elimination round to earn the top seed for the finals.
In women’s slalom, Canada’s Jaimee Bull won the gold medal for the second consecutive time, scoring 3-1/2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off in the finals. Jaquess earned the silver (2-1/2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off) and Allie Nicholson (Gallatin, Tenn.) earned the bronze (2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off). Sam Dumala (Clermont, Fla.), Chelsea Mills (Orlando, Fla.) and Elizabeth Montavon (Lake Worth, Fla.) placed fifth (1-1/2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off), seventh (4-1/2 buoys at 38 feet off) and eighth (4 buoys at 38 feet off), respectively.
In men’s slalom, Great Britain’s Frederick Winter won the gold medal for the second time (2017) of his career, scoring 4 buoys at 41 feet off. Dane Mechler (Davidson, N.C.) earned the silver (3 buoys at 41 feet off), and Canada’s Stephen Neveu earned the bronze (3 buoys at 41 feet off). Smith, Ryan Canepa (Elk Grove, Calif.), Corey Vaughn (Bumpass, Va.) and Jonathan Travers (Groveland, Fla.) placed fifth (2-1/2 buoys at 41 feet off), eighth (1/2 buoy at 41 feet off), ninth (5 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off) and 11th (4 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off), respectively. In Friday’s elimination round, there was an eight-way runoff for the final two spots into the finals.
In women’s jump, Hanna Straltsova (IWWF) won the gold medal, her first career world jump title, with a distance of 183 feet. Sasha Danisheuskaya (IWWF) earned the silver (176 feet) and Lauren Morgan (Tampa, Fla.) earned the bronze (174 feet). Jaquess placed fourth (173 feet).
In men’s jump, Canada’s Ryan Dodd won the gold medal for the fifth consecutive time with a distance of 229 feet. Krueger earned the silver (226 feet) and Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.) earned the bronze (223 feet). Quinn Haines (Avon, Conn.) and Brandon Schipper (Prior Lake, Minn.) placed sixth (217 feet) and eighth (210 feet), respectively.
Straltsova also won the gold medal in women’s overall with 2,699.4 points. Germany’s Giannina Bonnemann-Mechler earned the silver (2,579.67 points) and Jaquess earned the bronze (2,537.21 points). Gay and Hansen placed sixth (2,449.18 points) and seventh (2,370.80 points), respectively.
Duplan-Fribourg won the gold medal in men’s overall, his first career world title, with 2,726.02 points. Great Britain’s Joel Poland earned the silver (2,692.25 points) and Canada’s Dorien Llewellyn earned the bronze (2,654.18 points).
The Ski Nautique was the official towboat and Masterline USA was the official rope of the 38th IWWF World Waterski Championships. Nautique is a National Sponsor of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. Masterline USA is an Official Sponsor of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports.