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Athlete Profile: Brooklyn Barbell Olympic Weightlifting Team

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Photos by Rob Lotzko

Led by Coach Blanco and Coach Joey, The Brooklyn Barbell Olympic Weightlifting Team put in a command performance at the 2013 Connecticut  Weightlifting Championships in late July.   This was a first competition for most of the participants.  We checked in with them to see how it went!


sq_marisa Name: Marisa Ikeda – Iyeki
Age: 26
Lifting Since: February 2012

What is your favorite lift? Why? Snatch because it’s the hardest.  Also I like the feeling of being at the bottom of an overhead squat.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? How was the experience / how did you do? Team CT Weightlifting Competition was my first meet.  The experience was more than what I hoped for.  The coaches did an amazing job and the teammates were very supportive.  I did okay – did not lift as heavy as I would have liked but I think it was a good start for my first meet.  I agree with everything the coaches have suggested and they helped a lot with what weights to start/end with.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I was out of training for 6 months last year due to torn ligaments in my thumb.  I started lifting again January 2013 and could barely do an 85lb clean and jerk.  I was terrified of 125lbs.  Getting back up to 160lbs, which is 5lbs past my old one rep max the other month was a great accomplishment for me.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program?  Be consistent with training.  Leave your ego at the door.  Listen to your body.  Be respectful of people around you.  Don’t be the asshole that doesn’t help to change out weights/clean up.  If you miss a lift, don’t be discouraged.  When you think you can’t, keep pushing yourself and don’t give up – this is when you will excel the most.


sq_teddyName: Teddy Valovska
Age: 24
Lifting Since: October 2012

What is your favorite lift? Why? My favorite lift is the clean and jerk, most likely because it’s my strongest lift. It makes me feel very strong and confident, and as though I’m doing something great for my body.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? How was the experience / how did you do? Yes, the CT meet was my first one. It was an amazing experience and something I would recommend to lifters at all levels. It really changes your mentality, your approach towards training, and your habits outside of the gym. It gave me a purpose to lifting that was different from just being strong, or just lifting for exercise. It made me feel as though all of my practice and hard work was finally paying off. Before the meet I didn’t really think that I was a good Oly lifter at all, but being competitive changed that. I placed third in my weight class at 69kg/150lbs.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? My biggest accomplishment would probably be some of the auxiliary work I do to accompany oly lifting. My back squat is around 190lbs and I’m hoping to hit 200lb mid fall. I also got a behind the neck pull up, which I didn’t even know I could do until oly.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? Don’t be afraid of the bar. Be aggressive; get angry, and just do it. Approach the bar with respect, regardless of the weight, and always, always, always complete the lift, even if you fail. Getting good at oly is about consistency and technique over strength. The strength will come with time.


sq_reggieName: Reginald Lominy
Age: 19
Lifting Since: October 2012

What is your favorite lift? Why? The clean and jerk, because its the less technical of the 2 movements.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? Yes it was.

How was the experience / how did you do? It was a great experience – I got to feel the atmosphere of a lifting competition, and I got 2nd in the junior division with a 200kg/440lbs total.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I PR’ed in both of my lifts at the meet and I’m still improving.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? Stick with it and you will be happy with your results.


sq_kathName: Kathleen Ryan
Age: 28
Lifting Since: 2010

What is your favorite lift? Why? The Snatch. The lift is just fun…the transfer of power in a matter of a second or less is just amazing. And to watch it be done by the pros with serious weight is something else.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? How was the experience / how did you do? Yes it was. Got second and had an amazing experience. BBC was well represented and it was great to see everyone supporting each other from beginning to end. A lot of us do not spend that much time together outside of class but we were a big family that day. Joey and Blanco did a really unbelievable job preparing us and keeping us focused.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I don’t really count one PR or a certain competition that I did well an accomplishment. I think consistency with oly lifts is the biggest accomplishment of them all.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? Jump right in, prepare for a lot of failed attempts and bad lifts but be ok with that. Have fun with it and don’t take yourself too seriously.


WEIGHTLIFTINGName: Greg Aponte
Age: 30
Lifting Since: seriously since 3 months ago

Favorite Lift: Snatch

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? CT Open was my first competition. I finished 5th out of 6 in my weight class, but had one last lift that would have resulted in my getting 3rd if I had hit it.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I snatched over my bodyweight.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? If you enjoy doing the lifts, you should definitely give it a try. Beyond the obvious physical aspect of weightlifting, there’s an interesting mental element of thinking about your technique, your programming, your recovery, etc. that is really cool. You should probably also like (or at least tolerate) squatting, because you’re going to be doing a ton of it.


sq_maillardName: Maillard Howell
Age: I’m the same age as Yoda
Lifting Since: Pretty much since I was about 15, but all regular static lifts (bench press, squat, press movements) Oly Lifting specifically, I’ve spent the last 12 months focused on Oly lifting at CFV with hopes of being a better CrossFitter.

What is your favorite lift? Why? The snatch. It’s a very dynamic movement that somehow comes naturally for me at this point.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? Actually, it was my 2nd. The first I just winged it. I’m good at just ‘winging’ stuff. Ryan mentioned the first to me literally a week prior in Jan or Feb and I said, “Hey, why not?” There was no particular training or program that was done.

How was the experience? How did you do? Although I enjoyed the first experience, this 2nd meet was the real deal. We trained as a team, rode to the meet as a team. I think there were 12 of us lifting versus just Ryan and I ‘winging it’ with no supporters. We had an equal amount of gym supporters that came out to CT to support so that was great. We followed our coaches’ (Blanco and Joey) programming, tips and advice to the tee leading up to and during the meet.

It was quite nerve wracking but I was content with my performance. I think my best snatch was at 87 kilos / 191lbs, and my best clean and jerk at 97 kilos/ 213lbs. It was way off of my best lifts, but I know exactly how I have to approach the next meet as a result. I played it too conservative as a result of nerves.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I guess it would have to be my PR’s thus far … A 205lb snatch and a 225lb clean and jerk. You can tell my weak lift is the clean as my snatch is approaching my clean.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? The programming is taxing physically and mentally but that’s because it’s quality training. The combination of coaches Keith, Blanco and Joey ensure all bases are covered. It’s really up to you to invest the time if you want this program to work for you. I’m a different lifter today than I was 6 months ago, 9 months ago, and a year ago. It’s a continuous process of learning and implementing what you learn from the coaches.


sq_ryanName: Ryan Hopkins
Age: 27
Lifting Since: January 2011

Favorite Lift? Why? Back squat because it carries over to all things lifting related.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? The CT Open was my 3rd Olympic Lifting meet. I had a great time at this particular meet because this was the first time that CFV brought a full team to competition. It meant a lot to the people that I lift with every week, so because of that it meant more to me. It made me want to do well for them and to represent CFV and my coaches Blanco and Joey well.

How was the experience? How did you do? I had to move up to a heavier weight class, which grouped me with guys much heavier than myself, but I ended up placing 3rd so I felt good about that.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I think placing third in the meet is my biggest accomplishment to date in Olympic weightlifting.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? If there is any advice for anyone considering joining CFV’s Olympic weightlifting program I’d say get your mobility to a good level and then get in here. Blanco, Joey, and Keith bring a rare combination of skills, experience and passion to the table. Everybody in this group consistently makes progress. The program is thoughtfully drawn up and applied. Weightlifting is alive in Williamsburg because of the passion that’s exuded by our team and the coaches that guide us.


Name: Luis Benitez
Age: 23
Lifting Since: October 2012

What is your favorite lift? Why? My favorite lift is definitely the Clean and Jerk. During the C&J, there is a perfect balance of rhythm and strength. There’s no better feeling than coming up from a clean and slamming under the bar during the jerk.

Was the Connecticut Weightlifting Championships your first meet? Yes

How was the experience / how did you do? I was nervous going in at first but the meet was well organized and very friendly. My coaches Blanco and Joey made it easy – all I had to think about were my lifts, they took care of all the additional competition day stresses. Regarding results, all I was after was putting up a total so I have something to aim for during my next meet.

What is your biggest accomplishment in Olympic Weightlifting to date? I think that has to go to the day I hang power cleaned 93% of my max.

Any advice for people considering the BBC Olympic Weightlifting Program? Do it! It’s a great progressive program with a balance of skill & strength work. The program is super energizing, it’s a supportive atmosphere, and you get a lot of great individual attention. This lifting program will make you a better athlete all around, during the off-season or if you are looking to get sucked into the sport of weightlifting.

Comments

  1. Pammy(Happy Hour) says:

    SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS!!!!

  2. Adam W says:

    Cool post!

  3. Junk says:

    NIce work!! You all are beasts! Much respect.

  4. Kay says:

    Had lots of “awwww” moments reading this. You guys inspire me

  5. Jay Silver says:

    Great Job guys and girls! Looking forward to getting back into the gym this week!

  6. skip King says:

    I hear you will be having Morghan King the National Champion 48kg and USA world team member doing a seminar there this weekend. she just won the American Open with a 70kilo snatch and a 91 kilo C & J. She will be someone to see, for sure.

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