April 30, 2013
The Rookie Team: CrossFit Western Front
By Carter Jee

Under the watchful eye of Games competitor, Brandon Swan, the team from CrossFit Western Front aims for top 10 at Regionals.

Photos by: Carter Jee

After missing out on qualification for the 2012 Australia Regional by just four points, CrossFit Western Front doubled down on their training. A year later, CFWF finished near the dead center of the qualifying pack in 18th place.

Like many qualifying teams, this will be their Regional debut. Other than Cheryl Pfeffer, none of the CFWF team members have competed at the Regional level.

They’re everyday folks — a church pastor, a chef, a meat worker, a mechanical fitter, a teacher’s aid and a couple CrossFit coaches (for good measure).

However, they have an unusual advantage: their owner and head coach, Brandon Swan, competed in the Individual competition at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games. Over the last two years, Swan has shared all he knows with the members of CrossFit Western Front.

For Pfeffer, a long-time client of Swan, helping the team qualify for this year’s Regional made up for the disappointment of 2012, where she and the affiliate were one spot short of qualifying for Regionals.

"The make-up of the team largely came down to how well each of the team members performed during the Open," Swan says.

"Other factors such as complimentary strengths, work ethic and attitude were also taken into consideration. All in all, the six best all-round CrossFit athletes were chosen to represent CrossFit Western Front."

For one member, it was work ethic and attitude that was the deciding factor for his selection.

Travis Garland, a strong-built meat worker, only started CrossFit six months ago and Regionals will be his first team event.

"As a CrossFit athlete, he (Garland) is more of a project, and is about another 12 months away from being a complete package," Swan says. "But it was his willingness to give anything I throw at him a go without complaint that got him into the team."

Swan oversees the training and coaching of the team.

"They all follow the daily programming of the gym," he says. "In addition, I also assign individual homework for them to do, typically working on their weaknesses. There are team training sessions every Friday night and Sunday afternoon."

The sessions typically consist of barbell work, gymnastics skill work and a met-con. In addition, they are not just limited to physical conditioning. Some sessions focus primarily on team bonding.

"It’s just putting the six of them into a room together to get to know each other and learn how to talk to communicate effectively with each other," Swan says.

Swan acknowledges that leadership and communication are necessary to being successful as a team.

"Closer to the Regionals, I will be appointing a team captain," he says.  

The team captain will be playing a major role at Regionals, where Swan will be competing as an individual.

"I will be there to support, but I have a job to do myself," Swan says.

"When the workouts are announced, I will be breaking it down into a plan and I will be relying on the captain to ensure that everyone knows the plan and is disciplined enough to stick to the plan."

As for a team goal at the 2013 Australia Regional, Swan says it’s simple: "Top 10."