Denae Brown first captured the Australia region’s attention at the 2011 Regional when she won the first event. Brown completed the 1000 m run/30 handstand push-up/1000 m row workout in just 9:00 – 17 seconds faster than Amy Dracup. She ended up in 7th overall at the 2011 Australia Regional. Not bad for an athlete who only just decided to compete as an individual. This year, she’s focused on CrossFit as her primary sport, with the hope of improving on her 2011 performance.
32 years old, 55kg, 165cm.
Ben Schwartz of Schwartz’s CrossFit Melbourne
What should we know about you?
I am always working on becoming a better coach through my experience as an athlete. I support the local CrossFit community and people trying to positively affect it, such as TheBrave.
When was your introduction to CrossFit?
It was about three years ago. I had just returned from a two week stint in Thailand at a Muay Thai camp and my partner and I placed a bet between us to see who was going to be the fittest. I can’t remember the WOD exactly, but I have never let my partner forget the bet.
Was there a moment when you started to think of CrossFit as your sport?
Yes, after the Regionals in 2011.
What was the best coaching cue you ever received?
He wouldn’t know this, but Kieran Hogan from Schwartz's CrossFit has given me the best piece of advice - push my hips through when coming up on a back squat … priceless.
Is competition your primary training goal?
I have always trained or been active throughout my life, but having the opportunity to compete gives me something to really focus on.
Can you see more elite athletes from other sports shifting their focus to CrossFit?
Yes absolutely, perhaps not to the intensity of a Games athlete, but using the principles. I already know of athletes that utilize the Crossfit principles in their training and have seen benefits when re-testing their athletes.
What do you hope to achieve out of this year’s Games season?
My ultimate dream/goal would be to get to the States. However, at this stage coming off the back of an injury just being able to compete at the regionals would be great.
How do you think this year will compare to previous years?
Prior to the Open last year I wasn’t even sure if I was going to compete as an individual. However, thanks to my coach, Ben he suggested that I should. So this year I will have had more time to prepare and get involved in the sport from a competitive level.
What did last year teach you and how have you changed your approach to this season’s competition?
Last year exposed me to the level of CrossFit that you need to be at to compete at a higher level. As a result, I have taken my training a little more seriously – but not too seriously though.
Who are the people to watch in the Region?
That’s a really tough question. There are so many great up and coming athletes, really you just never know. Each state has some top female competitors and it's continuing to grow. With that said obviously there are going to be some crowd favorites that placed high last year that should continue to do well again this year.
Who are the people to watch for the Games?
I’m going to say Lindsey Smith.
Thoughts on this year’s competition season?
It’s going to be big! So big!
As a past Regionals competitor, do you feel added pressure to make it back?
Not really. I would call it more of a desire. At this stage I certainly don’t feel the pressure that perhaps other athletes who placed higher may feel.
Do you foresee a time when you will grow tired/bored of the Games competition? Is there a certain goal you would like to reach before you are willing to even consider hanging up the boots?
The Games have been evolving that quickly it really is an exciting time to be involved in the sport and I would like to be involved in the Games for years to come. As much as I would really love to get to the states to compete, what most people are not aware of the costs associated with competing at a high level. This may well prove to be the major career-limiting factor for me in the future.
If you could choose any exercise/aspect of CrossFit to master without jeopardizing your other skills, what would it be?
Oly lifting - I really admire the skill involved in the movements.