WSWC AND THE COC ANNOUNCE CANADA’S WATER SKI AND WAKEBOARD TEAM SELECTED TO COMPETE AT THE SANTIAGO 2023 PAN AMERICAN GAMES

Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s water ski and wakeboard team selected to compete at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

The Team Canada water ski and wakeboard team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is:

Athletes:

Water Ski
Dorien Llewellyn (Innisfail, Alta.)
Whitney McClintock Rini (Cambridge, Ont.)
Paige Rini (Winter Garden, Florida)
Neilly Ross (Orlando, Florida)

Wakeboard
Ashley Leugner (Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.)
Hunter Smith (North Vancouver, B.C.)

Canada qualified the maximum of four water skiers and two wakeboarders thanks to performances at the 2022 IWWF Pan American Championships for the two disciplines. Canada finished third in the overall open team classification for water ski.   

Dorien Llewellyn, who is coached by his father, 12-time Pan Am Games medalist Jaret Llewellyn, will make his second appearance at the Pan American Games. At Lima 2019, Llewellyn won gold in the men’s overall water ski event, a silver in tricks and a bronze in jump. At the most recent IWWF World Waterski Championships in 2021, Llewellyn won gold in men’s tricks and silver in men’s overall.

“I am incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games for a second time,” said Llewellyn. “Not only does water skiing have a golden history at these Games, but my family does as well, with my father winning 12 Pan Am Games medals himself. The chance to build upon the legacy that we have created together is one that I will continue to cherish every time I am a part of the Canadian team at any level of competition.”

Nine-time IWWF world champion Whitney McClintock Rini will make her fifth appearance at the Pan American Games. In her previous four appearances (Rio 2007, Guadalajara 2011, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019), she won a total of 14 medals, including five gold. At Santiago 2023, the twenty-year Canadian National Water Ski team veteran will return to the Laguna Los Morros venue where she has competed at numerous times throughout her career, including at the 2013 World Waterski Championships where she won a silver medal in both the women’s slalom and women’s overall.

Paige Rini, who won three bronze medals at Lima 2019 in the women’s slalom, tricks and overall events, will make her second appearance at the Pan Am Games. She finished the 2023 World Water Skiers Overall Tour with a bronze medal for her efforts throughout the season and looks to continue her podium performances at Santiago 2023.

Llewellyn, McClintock Rini and Rini will lend their significant Pan Am Games experience to teammates making their Pan Am debuts – Neilly Ross, Ashley Leugner and Hunter Smith. Ross is the 2017 IWWF world champion in women’s tricks and the 2017 IWWF Female Water Skier of the Year.

“I am beyond excited to be representing Canada at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile,” said Ross. “It has been a dream of mine to compete in this competition across sports for many years, especially in the footsteps of my dad who was able to win several Pan American Games Championships. I can’t wait!”

Ashley Leugner is one of Canada’s most decorated wakeboarders: a 7-time National Champion, World Championship Silver Medalist, Bronze World Cup finisher and many top ten finishes on the world circuit.

“Representing Canada at an event as prestigious as the Pan Am Games is a dream come true!” said Leugner. “It took a long time for women’s wakeboarding to be included in the Games and if I wasn’t able to represent Canada at least once, I would feel like I had unfinished business. I’m very grateful for the opportunity as I’m sure this experience will be one to remember for a lifetime!”

Hunter Smith rose up through the ranks of Wake Canada and Wake BC events winning his first national title at age 9. Smith is Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada’s 2022 Wakeboard Boat Rider Of The Year. 

“I’m excited and honoured to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games.” said Smith. “This is something I have been working towards for 14 years! Since I first stepped on a wakeboard at age 7, I fell in love with the sport. It has given me so many great friends and awesome life experiences.”

Water ski and wakeboard have been on the Pan American Games program since Mar del Plata 1995, where Jaret Llewellyn won the inaugural gold medal in men’s jump and men’s tricks in water ski. Since then, Canada has won a total of 56 Pan American Games medals in water ski and wakeboard, the highest total of any country. 

Water ski and wakeboard will take place October 21 to 24 (Days 1 to 4) at the Laguna Los Morros in the San Bernardo district of Santiago.

“As the Chef de Mission, I am proud to extend a warm welcome to these water ski and wakeboard athletes to the Canadian team on our way to the Pan American Games,” said Christine Girard, Team Canada’s Santiago 2023 Chef de Mission. “In a competition where the waves of Olympic recognition have not yet reached, our team composed of Pan American Games medallists and rookies promises to showcase skill and passion. Let’s make history and ride the tides of success at the 2023 Pan Am Games!”

Team Canada’s water ski and wakeboard team coaches and support staff for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:

Kyle Hunter (Paris, Ont.) – Team Leader
Jaret Llewellyn (Innisfail, Alta.) – Water ski coach
Matt Rini (Kingston, Ont.) – Water ski coach
Drew Ross (Belleville, Ont.) – Water ski coach
Dary Znebel (Mississauga, Ont.) – Wakeboard coach

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.

The latest Team Canada Santiago 2023 roster can be found here.

Watch the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games Broadcast Channel here.

Follow the Live Results here.

Skier: Paige Rini

Rider: Ashley Leugner.

Rider: Hunter Smith.

Skier: Dorien Llewellyn.

Skier: Whitney McClintock Rini. Photo Credit: Johnny Hayward Photography.

Skier: Neilly Ross. Photo Credit: Johnny Hayward Photography