2023 Wodapalooza Individual Event Preview: “Double Shot With a Splash”

Two swims, heavy wall balls, and a lot of double unders await the elite Individual field.

Wodapalooza (WZA) always features a swimming workout, and there have been some clever combinations for those workouts in years past. For 2023, the athletes will venture into the water twice and won’t know the exact distance they’ll swim — neat twists for the elite divisions. 

2023 Wodapalooza Individual Event — “Double Shot With a Splash”

Two rounds for time of: 

  • 50 Wall BallsMen: 30 pounds | Women: 20 pounds
  • Open Water Swim — unspecified distance
  • 150 Drag Rope Double Unders

Time cap: 20 minutes

The swim will affect the other movements in the workout, especially the heavy wall balls. The drag rope will further fatigue the shoulders after the first two movements. The swim will likely be the deciding factor, but the workout is well-designed to have interfering elements. 

Editor’s Note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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Picks to Win: Emma Tall and Brent Fikowksi

Emma Tall is one of the best swimmers in CrossFit. She was third at the Swim Kayak event in the 2021 Games and second last year on the Row, Swim, Run workout at WZA. All three women who beat her in those events — Tia-Clair Toomey and Kristi O’Connell at the Games and Lucy Campbell at WZA — are not in the field at the 2023 WZA. 

Fikowski is a tough pick in the men’s division. Jonne Koski is in this field and always dominates swimming events. Guillaume Briant and Cole Greashaber — both former swimmers — and Roman Khrennikov, who won the swimming event at the 2022 Games, will be there too. Historically, Fikowski does well in swimming events and is lethal with the wall ball. Especially at 30 pounds, the wall ball will likely knock a couple of the regular swimming-dominant athletes down by comparison.

Dark Horses: Katelin Van Zyl and Matt Poulin 

In the swimming event, Van Zyl had the best score of any team athlete at the 2022 Games. Her score of 130 calories would have been on par with Toomey and Kara Saunders. Van Zyl is taller than most women in the field and should feel advantaged on the wall balls.

Matt Poulin is a sneaky athlete. The eye test would not suggest he’s a contender in this workout, but he was third on the Row, Swim, Run workout at the 2022 WZA  behind accomplished swimmers Taylor Self and James Sprague. The men’s field has deeper swimming talent, but Poulin will likely be in the mix. 

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Damage Control: Elena Carratala and Colten Mertens

Mertens was 37th out of 40 at the 2022  Games on the swimming workout, 34th on the swimming workout at the 2021 Games, and 25th on Row, Swim, Run at the 2022 WZA. Adding in 100 wall balls at 30 pounds is not something that will scare Mertens off — he trains for those as hard as anyone — but it will make this workout more challenging. 

Carratala has some company in the WZA elite women’s field in terms of 2022 Games athletes who struggle with swimming workouts. Carratala took 35th, Rebecca Fuselier took 36th, and Elisa Fuliano finished in last-place 39th. All three are competing at 2022 WZA and need to show improvement to remain in contention. The rest of the weekend sets up best for Carratala, so she’ll likely have the most to gain by mitigating damage in this swimming workout.

Featured image: @emmtall on Instagram