New Dimensions water ski champion Hannah Stopnicki brings home gold
By: Josh Thomas
“I had to take myself out of everything and focus on what I had to do.”
“Obviously, I was nervous,” recalls newly minted Worlds Under 17 Girls champion Hannah Stopnicki. “But I knew what I had to do and I decided as long as I did that, everything was going to be okay.”
Having already completed a championship level run at Pan-Ams at the end of 2022, Hannah placed first at Worlds in January of this year in the Tricks category and her home country, Team Canada, finished with a silver medal placement overall.
Stopnicki was doing all this while receiving treatment and care for multiple hindering injuries.
“I had a partial dislocation in my hip which I had been training on. There was issues with my ligaments and SI joint and inflammation in my muscles,” Stopnicki said.
“There were times I thought and even tried to have the hard conversation with her that we may need to consider not going to Pan-Am’s to give her some time to heal and a fighting chance of making it to Worlds, which was 4-5 weeks later but she wouldn’t hear it,” Hannah’s mom Christina said. “Even when things were bleak, she knew she would go, compete, win and be good for the team score.”
Working with New Dimensions Wellness Club along with her coaching staff, Hannah was able to monitor and tend to her injuries with an intense focus on recovery before heading into competition.
“A lot of times, we find that coaches want to push athletes hard during training while they are already performing hard in their sport. Our job as clinicians is to get her body right through recovery first,” New Dimensions cofounder Brantley Hawkins said.
Hannah also closely works with New Dimensions cofounder Justin Cobb on a mental performance and focus program that Stopnicki credits as a major cornerstone for her young, growing career.
“I talked to Justin almost every day while traveling and I spoke with him right before finals. It’s huge, talking to him,” Stopnicki said. “I’ve been working with them for years and we’ve developed a routine. I remember him telling me that morning, ‘I have a really good feeling about this’.”
Hannah’s focus was tested the day of Worlds. After one of her teammates had a serious crash, Stopnicki was overwhelmed with emotion. On top of that, the score she had to beat would place as Hannah’s personal best.
“I just told myself, ‘that’s okay, I just have to do better than I’ve ever done in my life now!’” Stopnicki joked. “I can do that!”
That’s exactly what she did, placing a personal best and capturing first place, despite the injuries, setbacks and obstacles.
“It’s amazing seeing Hannah at such a young age embrace all the aspects of New Dimensions,” Cobb said. “She works just as hard on her mental approach and performance as she does her actual skiing.”
With her eyes now set on Junior Masters in May and then Under 21 Worlds in Mexico two weeks later, all while considering what her future holds, Hannah Stopnicki has her biggest challenges in front of her.
She is confident she will find her way.
“I just have to take myself out of all distractions.”