There was a time when Brandon Swan was a sports car. Fueling himself and dedicating all of his time and energy into performance at the top level. Now he centers his day around his job as a firefighter and his vocation as a dad. These days he’s adopted a tractor mentality. Less high octane and glossy paint jobs and more adaptability and determination.
“The major difference this year is mindset. This is not my primary focus. My family comes first and next is business and work, but, that’s a good thing. My stress levels are far lower than previous years. I feel I can go out and compete hard and enjoy myself and I think that showed in quarter finals last year.” Last year Brandon qualified for Torian Pro, Oceania’s Semifinal, following his own DadHours programming which is designed around time poor people getting their fitness in when they can in manageable chunks. He wound up testing the workouts for the organizers because his training to be a firefighter clashed with the first day of the event.
Someone who quietly took note of Swan’s retained fitness and fresh approach was Royce Dunne.
Dunne, a four-time CrossFit Games athlete, and a fellow parent familiar with being economical with time, said the decision for team or individual is never easy, “It comes down to what I believe I’ll enjoy more and where I can achieve the most growth. We’ve got the best possible athletes in our region and really good chemistry.”
“Royce and I have talked team for years. I still have a competitive itch to scratch. Royce mentioned it a few months ago and I was in if we found the right people,” Swan added.
For New Zealander Marnie Sykes, team was barely a blip on the radar this year. Marnie competed with CrossFit Selwyn last year finishing 6th in Madison. “I was so set on doing individual this year. Royce asked me to be on his team and I was tempted but still not 100%. I went to Gold Coast for the Cluster 4’s event and had a blast, caught up with Royce and trained with him, Brandon and Christee. We got talking about the season and how our team could be competitive. I’ve been wanted to move to Australia for a while so this was the perfect transition,” commented Marnie.
Christee Hollard was also in Madison last year with CrossFit EXF. Another run at team felt right this year. “I enjoy individual but at this stage it’s all about enjoyment. This team in particular because they’re some of the best athletes in Oceania.” Living next door to Rocye’s Mango Hill Barn made things even more straight forward as the duo do most of their training together as it is.
The team will put two of Australia’s longest running competitors on the same side. Royce and ‘Swanny’ are used to battling each other for points. “We’ve always had a very healthy competitiveness,” Swan explained. “We wanted to beat each other more than anyone else, I think we still have a bit of that when we train together and that pushes us on. We’ve done a few workouts together and it’s certainly nicer to be working towards a common goal. I’m excited to see what we can do together.”
As for the aim for the season, Royce said, “Every year, every team is different and none of them are comparable, truly. This team is going to be special though, we’re all over 30, we want to podium at the Games.” Hollard echoed this saying, “What’s different about this team is the level of each athlete and their experience at the Games…and our age…old dogs. Hopes for the season? Podium at the Games.”
Every year a team flies under the radar en route to an impressive showing in Madison. Last year, very few people were heard talking about CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue until they stood on the podium for the second consecutive time. In 2023, will the consistent, unflashy, determined, tractor mentality ‘old dogs’ cross the hemisphere and step onto the podium?