Ben Schwartz is in Santa Monica, Calif., preparing to compete at the CrossFit Games as part of the Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne team.
At the Australia Regional, the group finished no lower than eighth place in any event. They took first place in both the first and last events of the three-day competition.
More than a month later, team members arrived in California with two weeks to spare before the Games to become accustomed to the weather and feel settled as they prepare for the Affiliate Cup.
“The team’s training has been pretty similar to the Regionals except we don't know the workouts this time ‘round,” Schwartz says.
CrossFit Melbourne’s pre-Games programming is simple. Training days begin with a strength or skill component, followed by a met-con. All team members train up to six times each week. They train together as a team up to two times per week.
“The entire team usually does the same workouts,” Schwartz says. “Our training is a mixture.”
Since the Regional, the team has changed its roster. It now includes Amy Dracup, who finished 11th at last year’s Games and missed qualifying for this year’s Games finishing the Regional in seventh place.
Dracup replaced Fiona Pozzobon, who gave up her spot because she felt Dracup would be a better performer on the team. Stefan Gehrig also joins the team, replacing Michael Acreman, who injured his back.
Schwartz gave kudos to both Regional team members, saying they played a major part in qualifying the affiliate for the Games.
Dracup’s husband, Bjorn Albrecht-Walker, is also on the team.
Although CrossFit Melbourne has qualified one athlete for the Games since 2009, this is the first time they have qualified for a chance to win the Affiliate Cup.
“Since this is our first time competing at the Games as a team it's hard to say where we'd like to finish,” Schwartz says. “I think (we’ll) be happy if each of us can perform at our best and that should then put us in a good position.”
Regardless, there will be about 30 members of CrossFit Melbourne at the Home Depot Center to cheer on the team.
Like Australian cohorts CrossFit Athletic, CrossFit Melbourne also does not want to see the Games go the way of the Regionals with heavy weights in the events.
“We are (a) pretty small team in terms of size compared to other teams, so max lifts won't be our preferred lifts,” Schwartz says. “There's been rumors of atlas stones, team relays, overhead pistols have been everywhere. But (at) the end of the day, who knows. It's all fair game, I suppose.”