April 2, 2012
Australia Open Recap
By Gene Suna

After five weeks of Open competition, we are left with just 120 individual men and women and 30 teams with invitations to compete at Regionals. The Australia Regional in Woolongong is where each category will compete for just three spots to qualify for the Reebok CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Centre.


Week 1 may have been a great, inclusive test of capacity, but it gave us little insight as to who would end up in the region’s top 10. In fact, of the top 10 competitors from Week 1, only New Zealand’s Ben Thomson would be there at the end of the Open after finishing in 7th place. 

The men’s category really showed us that being well rounded with no major weakness was more important than dominating any given event. For example, only one 1st place result came from our overall top five finishers with Brandon Swan taking 1st in 12.5.

Another example is CrossFit Brisbane’s Jacob Frampton who qualified for the Regional with all of his results falling between 59th and 158th.  

The most top 10 finishes by anyone on the men’s side was three, with Rob Forte (1st), Brandon Swan (2nd), Ben Thomson (7th) and Natan Geva (17th), all with three top 10 results.

And a special mention for Sam Joraslafsky, who after Week 1 found himself in 423rd place, but finished strongly to qualify for the Regional in 54thplace.


If was no surprise to anyone to see 2011 Australia Regional winner Amy Dracup at the top of the Leaderboard at the end of the Open.

Unlike the men, the women’s Leaderboard started to take shape after 12.1 with four of first week’s top 10 remaining there until the end.

Our most consistent performer was Jessica Coughlan with results between 4th and 15th, followed closely by 2010 Games athlete Bec Eastwell, with a best of 9th and a worst of 22nd.

Denae Brown’s outstanding Open performance would have been enough to win based on most other scoring systems, with three 1st places and a 3rd. On the world stage Brown’s results read: 8th, 1,224th, 16th, 4th, 41st. With three top world top 20 performances, she is in elite company with nobody else outside the world’s top five able to make such a claim.


From the beginning, it was hard to see anyone beating Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne with three Games Athletes and a swag of last year’s Regional qualifiers in their stable. They didn’t disappoint, winning every week’s workout, often with daylight to 2nd place.

They represented our region well on the world stage, also with four finishes in the world’s top 10. The competition for 2nd was a little tougher, though, with Tropic Thunder, Functional Strength CrossFit, CrossFit Newcastle, CrossFit Active and CrossFit Athletic, all spending time in the top three.


In the Master categories, the world’s top 20 in each are invited directly to compete at the CrossFit Games in July. Although we don’t get to see them at the Regional, we will be well represented at the Games with 10 athletes qualifying.

In the Masters Women’s 60-plus Division, we will be represented by Sue Steinhauer and CrossFit East Adelaide’s Viviene Henderson.

In Men’s 50-55, Peter Ryder from CrossFit Dunedin and 2011 Masters Games athlete, Russell Kappe both qualified.

Lynne Knapman from CrossFit Active, CrossFit Auckland’s Debbie Downing and Jenny Kemp have all made it through in the Master Women’s 50-55 and Masters Games athlete Sue Oakman and Lynne Fitzharris from CrossFit Penrith in Master Women 45-49.

And in the Masters Men 50-59, we will be represented by Garry Jones.