CrossFit Games

Swimmers Dominate Event 1 in Brazil

May 17, 2019 by
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Some familiar names got off to a strong start at the Brazil CrossFit Championships as Mekenzie Riley and Sean Sweeney swam their way to victory in the opening event of the weekend.

Riley and Sweeney were both top ranked athletes coming into the event, and their performance in the pool should come as no surprise given their history in water both inside and out of CrossFit.

“I definitely felt very confident. I was excited for this one,” Mekenzie Riley said in a post event interview.

Riley swam competitively for 15 years up through college, and her best career event finish at the Games came in the 2018 Madison Triplus swim event where she took fourth. Her proficiency in the pool was immediately apparent as she opened up a significant lead in the first round and cruised her way to a win, even switching to a butterfly stroke to the crowds delight during the final few meters.


Sweeney didn’t have quite the same swimming pedigree – swimming just one year in high school – but became a strong swimmer during his prep and training for the Navy and BUD/s school to try and become a Navy Seal. In his two years at the Games, the CrossFit Cowboy has finished fifth and sixth respectively in the two swim events, which are the best of his career at the Games as well.

For the majority of the field here in Brazil, swimming under fatigue after the row was a major roadblock, but it was a source recovery for Riley, who revealed that “It get’s you in a controlled breathing pattern, so my heart rate comes back down in the swim.”

Sweeney on the other hand, swam much more aggressively and despite not being first to the water in rounds one and two, he was the first man out of the water every round en route to winning what he described as his “favorite workout ever in CrossFit history, period,” and “one of the first times they truly tested swimming.”

One more event and another 100 points are up for grabs in day 1 in São Paolo. Follow along on our Day 1 live blog.


  1. Sean Sweeney – 17:43
  2. Saxon Panchik – 18:00
  3. Mateus Ferro – 18:11
  4. Angelo DiCicco – 18:20
  5. ZA Anderson – 18:29


  1. Mekenzie Riley – 17:12
  2. Susana Etto – 18:54
  3. Cecilia Villamil – 19:28
  4. Jessica Schwartz – 19:48
  5. Paige Semenza – 19:56

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