The U.S. elite barefoot water ski team and the U.S. junior barefoot water ski team each won overall team gold medals at the Barefoot Water Ski World Championships, which were held Aug. 8-15 in Brandenburg, Germany.
The U.S. Senior barefoot water ski team also earned the overall team silver medal, and eight U.S. skiers combined to win 19 individual medals.
For the third time, the biennial Elite (Open) Barefoot Water Ski World Championships was held simultaneously with the biennial Junior and Senior Barefoot Water Ski World Championships. The eight-day event featured more than 130 athletes from 15 countries. The Elite Barefoot Worlds took place for the 17th time, while the Junior Barefoot Worlds was held for the ninth time and the Senior Barefoot Worlds commenced for the seventh time.
The U.S. elite barefoot water ski team included Ryan Boyd (Orlando, Florida), Elaine Heller (Alma Center, Wisconsin), Brian Hetherington (Winter Haven, Florida), A.J. Porreca (Willowbrook, Illinois), Keith St. Onge (Winter Haven, Florida) and Laura Szwed (White Lake, Michigan).
The U.S. elite barefoot water ski team won its 13th consecutive world team title by tallying 7,951.04 points. Australia earned the silver medal with 7,582.90 points and South Africa claimed the bronze medal with 7,410.59 points.
Heller won gold medals in women’s slalom (12.7 points), jumping (62 feet) and overall (2,724.6 points), and the bronze medal in tricks (2,210 points). Heller also set a new women’s world jumping record of 69 feet (21.0 meters) in the second round, surpassing a world record jump of 69 feet (20.9 meters) by Australia’s Ashleigh Stebbeings in the first round.
St. Onge won gold medals in men’s slalom (19.0 points) and tricks (9,100 points), and the silver medal in overall (2,835.2 points). Szwed earned the bronze medal in women’s overall (2,147.7 points).
The U.S. junior barefoot water ski team was comprised of Cody Ebbert (Utica, Pennsylvania), Ariana Koehler (Wauconda, Illinois), Kailey Koehler (Wauconda, Illinois), John Pressendo (Fort Pierce, Florida) and Lisa Pressendo (Fort Pierce, Fla.).
The U.S. junior team won the gold medal by tallying 5,521.32 points. Australia earned the silver medal with 5,430.08 points and New Zealand earned the bronze medal with 4,544.90 points.
Ariana Koehler won the gold medal in girls’ overall (2,861.5 points) and the silver medal in jumping (36 feet). Koehler also won the silver medal in women’s slalom (10.8 points) as an independent competitor in the Elite Worlds. Ebbert won the gold medal in boys’ tricks (5,500 points) and the bronze medal in boys’ jumping (63 feet).
The U.S. senior barefoot water ski team included Adin Daneker (Olympia, Washington), Brian Hetherington (Winter Haven, Florida), Heather Towers (Venetia, Pennsylvania) and Kevin Towers (Venetia, Pennsylvania). The U.S. senior team earned the silver medal by tallying 5,318.42 points. Australia won the gold medal with 5,385.85 points and Germany earned the bronze medal with 4,593.12 points.
Daneker earned the bronze medal in men’s jumping (77 feet) and the silver medal in men’s overall (2,574.9 points). Towers earned silver medals in women’s slalom (11.5 points), tricks (2,000 points) and overall (2,553.4 points).
U.S. independent competitor Betsy Anderson (Atlanta, Georgia) earned the bronze medal in women’s tricks (1,480 points).