April 7, 2013
Latin America's Bromance
By Laura Watler

Latin America has its own budding bromance in Conor Murphy and Chris Irwin of CrossFit St. Thomas.

Latin America has its own budding bromance.

Being compared to Rich Froning and Dan Bailey is nothing new for Conor Murphy and Chris Irwin. In addition to opening the only box in the U.S. Virgin Islands together, they train and compete together, as well.

In a matter of months, they went from a home gym to a full affiliate. And now, a year later, they are training more than 100 athletes at CrossFit St. Thomas. Their goal is to establish a strong and healthy CrossFit community in St. Thomas.

“We have great trainers and are happy to be able to bring this to the U.S. Virgin Islands and make people healthy,” Irwin says. “It is an honor to be a part of that.”

Bringing the Open to the box

During the Open, Irwin says the box felt like one big happy family with weekly Friday Night Lights. These weekly events highlight the energy at the box and create a great opportunity to have people throw down together.

“We have many athletes who have improved in the past year, so it will be exciting to compare,” Irwin says.

Both men consider it important to have a strategy and a pace in order to get the best results at the end. Murphy says he is really enjoying competing with not only the Latin America Region, but also his friends around the U.S., and seeing where they rank in comparison.

“Latin America is not a weak region, and seeing how people we met last year at Regionals have progressed and improved is really fun to be a part of,” Murphy says.

Competing together

Both Murphy and Irwin attacked 13.4 twice and after the second go, Irwin was able to beat Murphy, finishing in second and 21st, respectively on the workout. 

“On each workout, we seem to alternate who beats who,” Murphy says.

In preparation for this competition season, they have both been following very strictly Ben Bergeron´s Competitor´s WOD programming. Their training is mainly focused on Regionals with heavier weights and concentrating on skill movements and gymnastics movements, as opposed to just focused on the Open.

Last year at Regionals, they felt a little outside of their comfort zone due to a language barrier, but they feel it was a great experience and are really excited for 2013.

They each have seen a lot of PRs from last year. Irwin says he accomplished a back squat of 365 lb., a deadlift of 465 lb. and a clean and jerk of 265 lb.

Murphy took his snatch up 30 lb. since last year to 235 and his deadlift from 355 to 455 lb. He also saw a lot of improvement in his 5k run and says he wouldn’t mind seeing a long run at Regionals.

After five weeks of competition, Murphy sits in sixth place and Irwin is in 27th in Latin America.

“Conor and I are training partners and workout together every day while running the gym, as well. But Conor is 14 years younger, which makes keeping up with him challenging,” Irwin says. “He's 23 and I'm 37.”

Despite the age difference, Irwin and Murphy tied for third place at the 2012 Latin America Regional.

Irwin and Murphy are also proud to be sending a team from their affiliate to Regionals. The CrossFit St. Thomas team is ranked eighth.

“(We are) excited to be bringing a team to Regionals and having the presence of our box and team there as well, not only as individual,” Murphy says.