The Open is Closed.


The 2016 CrossFit Open is officially over. Scores are submitted, triceps are sore, and athletes are ranked! Another equally awesome and stressful 5 weeks comes to an end. Another year to measure your fitness with friends, your region, your age, or just yourself! If this was your first Open ever, I hope your experience was not only positive, but motivating. I recently asked a fellow first-timer to write down his experience, worth the read. How many of you have similar stories?



by Eric SD

This Was My First CrossFit Open.

I could tell that it was the week before the first Open workout by the change of conversation and energy at the CrossFit gym.  As Open sign up’s approached, I was challenged to go for it and just have fun. But, back when I turned forty, I told friends that I was training and would do the Open when I turned fifty. A lot of people encouraged me to get out of my head regarding the whole thing and just see how it goes. So at forty-two, after some major encouragement from people I admire, especially my wife, I decided to sign up.

Immediately when I saw 16.1 I thought what am I doing? I have never done walking lunges with a bar over head let alone a barbell weighing 95 pounds!  The Open is all about trying new things and that is exactly what I did. With a lot of support from my coach and others in my CrossFit community I accomplished 16.1.

During the regular workouts coinciding with 16.1 I figured out kipping T2B for the first time. Little did I know they would be the first part of the second Open workout 16.2! My hope heading into 16.2 was to successfully get kipping T2B, through the double-unders and into the squat cleans. I did it and it felt great to do a movement I had just learned the week prior and meet my goal!

Enter 16.3, I was certain this would be the WOD I’d needed to scale. Bar muscle ups?!! I was ready to scale, but there was a little voice inside my head reminding me of childhood days playing monster tag on the playground structure, swinging up on those bars and getting away scott free! When it came time for me to start the WOD my coach reminded me of a few tricks and told me to just step back and jump for the bar. He knew I could do it. The Open allowed me to accomplish movements I had never tried or succeeded at before; I got my first bar muscle up in 16.3.

Each week of the Open I’d face something new. 16.4 caused me to face a fear head on. Six months prior I strained my back getting a 1 rep max on my deadlift. With the nature of my job, traveling and needing to be physically active, I found the thought of injuring my back caused me to shy away from deadlifting. I had only ever used #185 in a few workouts since straining my back, so seeing #225 at 55 reps had me ready to throw in the towel. With amazing coaching and the encouragement of friends and my CrossFit community I came to terms with the deadlift, stepped into 16.4 and got through all 55 unscathed.

After each Open workout I started to feel a little more like I could do anything, but reality hit as I realized each workout thus far had a time cap. Thank you 16.5 for pushing me even further into knowing what I am made of. I spent the weekend mulling over 16.5, cheering fellow athletes of all different levels on as they pushed through the thrusters and burpies, contemplated Monday morning entering that pain cave willingly myself! It’s interesting when I consider the idea of competing in the Open. For me, my main opponent is myself. This morning as I showed up for 16.5 my coached asked me how I was feeling. I said, “good” and gave my typical nervous smirk.  As the minutes ticked by, approaching my start, I repeatedly said, “joy, joy, joy.” My coach grinned back giving his typical full smile of pride for me and all who come and train under his coaching.


Everyone has different reasons for stepping into doing CrossFit. Not everyone will choose to compete in the Open, but I’m really glad I did. I was able to RX all five Open workouts this year. Over time we all need to face the voices that tell us we can’t, I’m glad that when I did, not only did I have my my own voice telling me I can, but a crowd of friends and fellow CrossFitters. The Open confirmed why I choose to train with CrossFit: it strengthens me physically, mentally and the community accepts you where you are as well as challenges you to “get up and keep moving!”

-Eric Swanson-Dexel



post 16.5

In his first CrossFit Open, Eric finished in 390th place out of 2189 athletes.