“I’m trying to keep up with the young guys when it comes to both SWAT and CrossFit. They say you should lead from the front. You got to be at least as good. It’s obviously better if you can be the best or near the best.”
Just after the close of the 2013 Open, Sergeant Greg Smiley and the rest of the Santa Monica SWAT Team pursued suspects in a cross-town manhunt. Each wearing 60 lbs. of gear, SWAT team members scaled fences and did whatever necessary to catch the two suspects. After nine hours, both suspects were found and captured.
As the Tactical Team Leader, Smiley is responsible for keeping the team fit enough to endure the physical demands of the job. To make that happen, Smiley uses CrossFit.
“The team starts every training day with a CrossFit workout,” he says. “These are either done on the beach of Santa Monica or at a local box in the city … We train all over the Los Angeles area, and have found that the box owners are always more than willing to allow the team to train at their box.”
CrossFit has helped the 18-year SWAT member and his teammates capture suspects and berths to the Games. This year, 45-year-old Smiley will compete in the Masters 45-49 Division at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games. He qualified with a 15th-place finish worldwide in this year’s Open.
His coach Mike Tromello, of Precision CrossFit, expected it; Smiley didn’t.
“Early on, Mike said, ‘You can go to the Games someday as a Master,’” he says. “I never believed him. I honestly thought there were just too many good athletes worldwide. I didn’t believe it.”
Smiley does CrossFit for his team, not the competition.
“My favorite part about both (CrossFit and SWAT) are the team and camaraderie,” he says. “(SWAT) is a mind game. It’s one of those things you can never perfect — you can work towards it. It’s the same with CrossFit.”
Now that he’s qualified for the Games, he’s training like a competitor. More than anything, he doesn’t want to disappoint.
“I hate losing more than (I love) winning,” he says. “I think it’s more a fear of failure. You’re letting all the people supporting you down.”
Smiley says he trains with men who are much younger than he is.
“I’m trying to keep up with the young guys when it comes to both SWAT and CrossFit,” he says. “They say you should lead from the front. You got to be at least as good. It’s obviously better if you can be the best or near the best.”
Whenever Precision CrossFit Regional competitors take on a workout, Smiley joins.
“I’ve always competed against the big guys. They don’t scale weights for me. They never said, ‘OK, you’re Masters. You’re going to go lighter.’ I think it’s benefited me a lot,” he says. “I try to keep up with them. Then I compete with people my age and I’m somewhat successful.”
Although he usually doesn’t scale, he is smart about keeping his body healthy. He supplements CrossFit with physical therapy, yoga and consistent mobilization.
In the coming weeks, Smiley will do a lot of Olympic and powerlifting, and closer to the Games, a load of met-cons.
“I’ve had a positive, ‘Let’s go have a good time’ attitude for as long as I can,” he says. “Just like (with) most competitors, the hardest part is waiting for days before or even an hour before. It’s a lot easier once you’re actually competing. Once you get going, it’s on!”