CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro is at it again. He is notorious for posting obscure hints about various events at the CrossFit Games and the CrossFit Open. For example, for workout 21.2 of the 2021 CrossFit Open, Castro shared a close-up of the broom held by Cosette, a young female character who plays a major role in the musical Les Miserables. Castro is giving the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games the same treatment.
On July 5, 2021, he took to his Instagram page to share some details about the first individual event at the Games — titled “IE1” — scheduled for Wednesday, July 28. He did not reveal much, but he did confirm the event will involve swimming and paddling.
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Swim — distance; long. And paddle; distance — even longer.
At the 2020 CrossFit Games, there was only one event that featured swimming. Event 10 was titled “Swim-N-Stuff,” which was one of only two events that now-retired five-time Fittest Man on Earth Mat Fraser didn’t win. 2020 CrossFit Games runner-up Samuel Kwant bested him by about nine seconds.
Previous Swimming Events at the CrossFit Games
The most recent event at the Games involving swimming and paddling was at the 2019 CrossFit Games and was conveniently named “Swim Paddle.” It consisted of athletes performing a 1,000-meter swim and a 1,000-meter paddle (with their hands while laying facedown on a paddleboard) as quickly as possible with a time cap of 50 minutes.
Notably, the reigning four-time Fittest Woman on Earth, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, won that event with a time of 25:12.25. Haley Adams, who finished fourth at the 2020 CrossFit Games, was the runner-up to Toomey-Orr in that event with a time of 28:15.50. 2020 CrossFit Games runner-up and two-time Fittest Woman on Earth Katrín Davíðsdóttir placed eighth with a time of 32:36.98.
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In 2011, the event titled “Beach” challenged athletes to swim 250 meters before performing multiple 1,500-meter runs broken up by push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. In 2013, “The Pool” event saw athletes complete 10 rounds of two 25-yard swims sandwiching three muscle-ups.
The swimming distance increased in the 2014 version of “The Beach,” where athletes swam three lengths of 250 meters, 500 meters, and then 250 meters again with kettlebell thrusters and burpees in between. The 2015 CrossFit Games also kicked off with a swim and paddle event titled “Pier Paddle” — two 500-meter swims bookending a two-mile paddle. The 2016 CrossFit Games simplified the water-based events with a lone 500-meter swim as the only event on day two — Toomey-Orr won this event.
Continuing the tradition of aptly named events, the 2017 CrossFit Games premiered with the “Run Swim Run” event where competitors ran 1.5 miles, swam 500 meters, and then ran another 1.5 miles. Toomey-Orr won that event, too. The 2018 CrossFit Games featured both swimming and paddling in the Madison Triplus event, also won by Toomey-Orr. There is a pattern of the reigning champion being exceptional in swimming-based events.
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Onto the 2021 CrossFit Games
Presumably, the 2021 Games variant will be similar, but, according to Castro, the paddle portion of the event will cover more ground — or water, rather — than the swim.
With Fraser leaving the throne vacant, the title of Fittest Man on Earth® will be up for grabs. Defending champion Toomey-Orr will likely start the 2021 Games with a splash as she is historically excellent in events in the water.
Feature image: @crossfitgames on Instagram/Photo by Kieran Kesner