Only one man beat Drew Shamblin on Open Workout 14.1: Dan Bailey.Notching 10 rounds of 30 double-unders and 15 75-lb. power snatches in 10 minutes,...

Notching 10 rounds of 30 double-unders and 15 75-lb. power snatches in 10 minutes, Shamblin beat Rich Froning's record performance from 2011 by two reps.


Only one man beat Drew Shamblin on Open Workout 14.1: Dan Bailey.

Notching 10 rounds of 30 double-unders and 15 75-lb. power snatches in 10 minutes, Shamblin beat Rich Froning’s record performance from 2011 by two reps. Shamblin fell 11 reps shy of Bailey to finish tied with Craig Kenney for the second best male performance worldwide in 2014.

The 27-year-old CrossFit Candor athlete from Tuscaloosa, Ala., was introduced to CrossFit in 2008 when a friend suggested he check out a YouTube video he found.  

“The first video I came across was Josh Everett doing Fran,” Shamblin said. “Up until this point I had only worked out in globo gyms, so I had never even seen a bumper plate.”

After watching the video, Shamblin thought Everett was using 45-lb. plates on each side so he decided to emulate Everett’s workout using 135 lb. and strict pull-ups.  

“After I finished, I was like, ‘How did that guy do that?’ I later learned it was 95 lb.,” Shamblin said.  

Six years later, Shamblin is no stranger to Open and regional competition. Shamblin has been involved in CrossFit competition since 2011, but has yet to make a name for himself outside of the South East Region.

His name first popped up on the front page of the worldwide Leaderboard in 2011 when he completed 401 reps on Open Workout 11.1 (14.1), which put him in 24th place in the world and third in the South East.

A repeat performance of 401 reps in 2014 would have landed Shamblin in a tie for sixth in the South East, alongside top-10 regional finishers Jeff Evans and Dominic Maurici, and 92nd in the worldwide standings with the likes of Pat Barber and Neal Maddox.

Shamblin has a record of beating some of the world’s fittest competitors in Open workouts, which tend to be lightweight AMRAPs. For the last three years, he has finished in the top 10 in the South East in the Open (third, seventh, seventh), but suffered in the heavier events at regionals (17th, 31st, 23rd).

Six months ago, a somewhat frustrated Shamblin approached his longtime friend and owner of CrossFit 27:17 in Flowood, Miss., Michael McElroy, and asked him to be his coach. Their wives introduced them to each other five years ago at sectionals where they quickly became friends and began training together whenever the opportunity arose.

“Mike is very familiar with my strengths and weaknesses because we have trained together pretty often despite the distance between us,” Shamblin said.

The two men live three hours apart.

“Drew has always been a phenomenal athlete with perhaps more mental toughness than I have ever seen,” McElroy said. “He has this ability to go into the hurt locker per se, and stay there for a very long time. He once told me that his favorite CrossFit workouts were 20- to 30-minute AMRAPs.“  

Recognizing his willingness and enjoyment in “going long,” McElroy decided Shamblin needed to focus on lots of volume mixed with heavy strength work so he often programs short intervals with heavy weight.

McElroy knew Open Workout 14.1 would be a strong one for Shamblin thanks to his love of workouts that test pure work capacity where Shamblin said he “feels at home.”  

“The plan for 14.1 was to go unbroken for as long as possible and make quick transitions,” Shamblin said. “Honestly, I was happy to see it come up again because I remember doing well in 2011.”  

As for being the first man to post a score better than the three-time CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning, Shamblin said he was not aware of Froning’s score until after he completed the workout.

“Over the course of the last year, I have gotten much stronger thanks to working on weaknesses, which for me have traditionally been one-rep maxes,” he said.  

His CrossFit goals have not changed from when he started six years ago.  

“I want to finish well in the Open and at regionals,” he said. “I will give my best effort and be happy with wherever that lands me, as long as I know I gave it all I had.”  

McElroy said Shamblin’s greatest strengths have nothing to do with fitness.

“Drew is mentally strong and puts his faith and family first, which allows him to train with far less stress,” McElroy said.  

Shamblin echoes his coach’s sentiment.

“My main goal is to glorify my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the effort that I give and boast in what He has done every chance I get,” he said.