The first event of the 2021 CrossFit Games for the Individual competitors took place in the water. This was the 11th consecutive year the Games featured a water-based event, but this one involved the longest swim in Games history.
Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and Jonne Koski won the first event for the Individual Division of the CrossFit Games. Koski of Finland started strong and finished stronger, while Toomer-Orr battled it out with Eramo O’Connell and Emma Tall, before finishing 12 seconds ahead of O’Connell.
Here are the results:
Individual Event One — Top Five Men
- Jonne Koski — 1:06:44.23
- Lazar Đukić — 1:09:08.68
- Rogelio Gamboa — 1:09:48.17
- Brandon Luckett — 1:10:35.29
- Justin Medeiros — 1:10:54.31
Individual Event One — Top Five Women
- Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr — 1:10:46.37
- Kristi Eramo O’Connell — 1:10:54.64
- Emma Tall — 1:11:01.45
- Emily Rolfe — 1:11:27.94
- Haley Adams — 1:11:37.08
Koski’s win was the third of his Games career. This was Toomey-Orr’s record 25th Games event win. Here is what competitors had to do in event one:
Individual Event One
- One-mile swim with fins
- Three-mile kayak
The women and the men all started in the water and began the swim at the same time. There was not a run into the water like there has been in years past. For a sense of how long the swim would take, the CrossFit Demo Team performed it in 27 minutes.
Swimming & Kayaking
The opening portion of this event was certainly a marathon more than a sprint, but the water was as flat as glass on a 75-degree morning. By the 15-minute mark, the athletes had settled into a rhythm in the water and Jonne Koski of Finland was well in the lead of the men’s field with several female competitors behind him. The broadcasters also took notice:
Jonne Koski is demolishing the field at this point.
They were already predicting an event win for Koski, assuming a disaster didn’t occur in the kayak section. He was the first person to get to the kayak — he got back into the water at 21:23.
Amanda Barnhart — a former D1 college swimmer — was the first woman out of the water at 22:27. By the time Barnhart was in the water with her kayak, Brent Fikowski emerged from the swim alongside Emma Tall. A good portion of the field in both divisions completed the swim around the 24-minute mark. Pat Vellner hit the kayak portion at 28:40.
[Related: Kari Pearce Tests Positive for COVID-19, Out of 2021 CrossFit Games]
Koski’s technique in the kayak was a cyclical motion that kept him moving smoothly through the water. Barnhart could not find the same rhythm in the kayak and gave up her lead.
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The broadcasters shared that the kayaks used in the competition can reach a top speed of approximately 4.5 miles per hour. Reigning four-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr figured that out and closed in on the front of the female pack with Tall and Eramo O’Connell.
Tall pulled ahead around the 46-minute mark. Toomey-Orr could be heard yelling to Eramo O’Connell right behind her, who was taking advantage of “drafting.” That means she used the path Toomey-Orr was carving in the water.
Get out of here!
Apparently, Eramo O’Connell gave Toomey-Orr the energy she needed to turn on the jets and overtake the lead. She never gave it up and took the win.
The Games Continue
Here are the time slots for the next three events for the Individual competition. All times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST).
- IE2 (Men): 1-1:30 p.m.
- IE2 (Women): 1:45-2:15 p.m.
- IE3 (Men): 2:45-3:05 p.m.
- IE3 (Women): 3:05-3:25 p.m.
- IE4 (Men): 5:30-6:20 p.m.
- IE4 (Women): 6:30-7:20 p.m.
Featured Image Courtesy of CrossFit