Samuel Kwant is headed back to the CrossFit Games. Kwant, who missed last season due to a knee injury, will be returning for his 3rd Games after finishing 20th in the world in the CrossFit Open. Kwant is back to full strength and is now preparing for the Games in August.
Just this weekend, Kwant competed in his first Sanctional event, the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge, where he took 2nd place.
We caught up with Kwant to find out how his rehab from knee surgery went, his experience during the Open with the new qualifying format and what training looks like now that he has earned his way back to the Games.
The Barbell Spin: Last year you made the decision to sit out Regionals and the rest of the 2018 CrossFit Games season to have surgery on your knee. How hard was it to make that decision?
Samuel Kwant: It was a hard decision that eventually came down to whether or not I wanted to be able to put my best foot forward or to struggle through competing with an injury and not be able to perform up to my standards. It was either a couple years of struggling through injury until it eventually stopped me or to just buckle down and focus on recovery so I can make a comeback.
TBBS: Following surgery, how long did it take to return to full training?
SK: I started working out a little bit about 2 weeks following the surgery but I wasn’t back into full normal training for 2 and a half months.
TBBS: Did you have any concerns with the knee heading into the Open?
SK: Not really about my knee. I figured it would hold up for the workout and a redo. It’s less intense than a normal competition in the sense that there is only one workout a week instead of several packed into one weekend.
TBBS: The past two Opens you had finished inside the Top 20 worldwide. How much pressure was there this year from week to week compared to prior years?
SK: I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep improving and performing to what I believe is my 100%. There was more pressure this year because it was a games qualifier and everyone was taking it a lot more seriously.
TBBS: How did you prepare/strategize for the Open workouts? Did you repeat any of them?
SK: I repeated all of the workouts. I talked with my coach and a few other competitors to get an idea of what my times and scores needed to be and I went into it the first time trying to get the best score I could. After the first time I determined how good I thought my score was and focused on what to improve. Sometimes it was watching the video and calculating how much rest time I need to cut out in order to get my target score, and other times it was just having a general idea of what I needed to go faster on or tweak in some way.
TBBS: You train mostly at your home gym. How do you stay motivated to train at such a high level day in and day out?
SK: I train with my dad and my siblings and we are all competitive with each other. It is like a gym in the sense that we support and push each other but it’s a lot smaller scale obviously. The open was fun because we had our own Conway CrossFit leaderboard and everyone was competing trying to beat each other’s scores. My dad, mom, and 5 of my siblings did some or all of the open workouts.
TBBS: Now that you have qualified for the Games, how will you change up your programming? Will it differ this year now that you have four months (and no Regionals)?
SK: It will be different for sure. I am going to get onto a Games programming schedule and start doing more outdoor stuff heading up to the Games. I just recently bought a bike and I am planning on doing some triathlon style workouts coming up to the games as well. I used the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge as a way to kind of ease back into competition.
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