May 21, 2012
The Art of Friendship and Competition
By Carla Conrad

"Even though we are competitors, when it comes down to it ... we can still be best friends and we are still going to grab some Red Robin afterwards."

It is a normal day for CrossFit Marysville co-owners, Noah Pester and Ryan Swobody. Pressing through their workout, focused on their training, pushing one another, while Swobody’s baby girl coos happily in her blanket in the corner. This is a very positive and supportive environment. This is the same attitude these two athletes are taking into the North West Regional, having finished the 2012 Open side by side.

I had a chance to sit down with Pester and Swobody. We talked about this year’s Regional and what its like to be business partners, friends and CrossFit competitors.

What is the difference from last year to this year?

Pester: Last year I was just kind of all over the board, I didn’t know what I needed to do to get ready for the Open, Regionals or the Games. This year, I have a set program with CJ Martin since August. Surprisingly, I’ve done a lot less volume this year, but I’ve gotten a lot stronger and more proficient with my movements. Learning where I can push it and where that red line is. I am a lot more comfortable being under heavier loads for longer time, which I think is a big deal.

Swobody: I feel like I have closed the gap a little bit, but I look up to [Pester] in all the workouts that we do. I always use him as a gauge. It has helped me to improve exponentially to follow him. I am focusing my training much better, rather than coming in and haphazardly training on what I think I suck at rather than what I do suck at.

How do you work together to get better and prepare for Regionals?

Pester: We have very different strengths from each other. Technically, with the overhead stuff, I am far more comfortable, but if it is how far can you go for how long, there is no doubt about it, I would never be able to keep up with Ryan. Our big strengths are vastly different from each other.

This year, we have a longer time between finding out the workouts and when our Regional is. Last year we just kept doing the workouts over and over and finding out how fast we can go.

This year, we have only gone through one workout fully. For the rest of them it has only been portions of the workouts and finding out how many reps you can do before you need a break and really breaking them down into smaller parts to see where we can really push it. This year I am a lot more rested. I was ready at Regionals last year, but after that, I burned out a little bit. I just thought volume, volume, volume was all I needed to do.

How has CrossFit prepared both of you for your work as firefighters?

Pester: We don’t always know what the workouts are going to be. Here’s what you’re doing: 3, 2, 1 … Go!

It is the same at work, repetition, repetition, repetition. Now it is just second nature.

Swobody: I wish I could get as comfortable with CrossFit as I am with firefighting. I think CrossFit is harder, but they definitely play off of each other.

What is it like being business partners and competitors?

Pester: It just works. In a couple of local competitions, in the middle of the workout, we’ll yell at each other or make fun of each other, whatever the case. But we are both each other’s biggest push to keep going. If I don’t win, I want Ryan to win and vice versa.

Swobody: I haven’t felt more proud these last few [local] competitions where CrossFit Marysville is on the entire point board. We swept the entire competition. All three of our guys are on the podium, we got girls on the podium and the most people on in the crowd. So, whether it is me or Noah, DJ or Kyle or our team on the podium, I just could not be more proud.

And that’s what’s cool about CrossFit. Even though we are competitors, when it comes down to it, we’re facing off against each other in a workout and we can still be best friends and we are still going to go grab some Red Robin afterwards.

CrossFit Marysville has a total of five individual competitors and a team competing at the North West Regional. Both Pester and Swobod say they are enthused by the community support.