The Progrm Squad Prepares for 2021 Season, Weathers Pandemic in Spain
As the 2021 season approaches, the Morning Chalk Up has been keeping an eye on the development of athlete camps around the United States. However, across the pond, The Progrm has been using Mallorca, Spain as a base for exactly this kind of thing since 2015.
- “One thing that has become very clear over the years,” shares Progrm Head Coach, Jon Singleton, “is that this type of focused environment leads to greater development of the athletes and therefore improved performance on the competition floor.”
Remind me: The Progrm is a well established training methodology in Europe whose coaches have a combined 50+ years of experience and have helped over 30 athletes reach the CrossFit Games.
The big three: Currently there are three prominent athletes in Mallorca who have been training with little distraction throughout the pandemic.
- Jacqueline Dahlstrom has been the mainstay of the group for several years. She trained in Mallorca throughout the 2018 Open and leading up to Regionals that same year. Ultimately she did not qualify for the Games (she finished sixth in the Meridian Regional), and decided that if she wanted to qualify she’d need more consistency in her life.
- “I realized I needed a base and to cut down on traveling if I wanted to make it to the level I want to compete at. Fast forward almost three years and we are still here and very happy with that decision”
- Gabriela Migala also narrowly missed qualifying for the Games in 2018 (placing sixth in Europe), but has made her name well known on the Sanctional circuit in the last couple of years. She seems to love the highest level of competition, competing both seasons in Dubai, once at Wodapalooza, and then also at Strength in Depth and Norway last year. She had exceptionally strong performances at those competitions (with finishes of 9th, 7th, 4th, 2nd, and 1st) against some of the best athletes in the world. She also did qualify for the Games in 2019 as the national champion of Poland, but was unfortunately unable to advance from the First Cut event.
- Kristof Horvath is the brother of former second woman on earth Laura Horvath, but he has set out to prove that he too is amongst the fittest in the world. He was making good strides in the first Sanctional season, but ultimately fell short of a Games qualification. He was the second fittest in Hungary that year (notably he has been the fittest in Hungary on four other occasions — including 2020 which would have landed him a Games berth if not for the Covid crisis). A rather devastating biking injury took him out of the Sanctional season last year, but he has put in the work to get back in the gym and is looking and feeling better than ever.
- “Gabi and I moved here last February,” explains Horvath, “we had visited before and it was an easy option since we were already working with John.”
It doesn’t stop there: “Over the last two years we have been actively focused on expanding the athlete base here in Mallorca,” explains Singleton, “with Jacqueline, Kristof, and Gabi we have a really strong base and it has been great to see them develop together as a group.”
- For Singleton, the group element is critical, “We have approached this environment with the concept that rising tide lifts all boats, and that the success of each individual athlete and team member has a reciprocal relationship to all others within the group.”
It’s not exclusive: “For the time being it’s just us three athletes and John (our coach) who live here permanently,” says Dahlstrom, “but normally (pre-covid) we had other athletes joining relatively often. We have always been very open to that and are excited to be able to organize bigger training camps once restrictions allow it.”
- Singleton expressed his belief that as the sport continues to evolve he sees these types of environments becoming not just more common, but necessary to truly reach the highest level in the sport.
The 2021 Season will be a great opportunity for Dahlstrom, Migala, and Horvath to put this theory to the test. While many of the other camps we’ve seen have been developing recently, this one has been running with a consistent group, and little interruption, for nearly a year. With so few distractions because of the pandemic, a pre-established camp like this seems like the ideal situation for an athlete to find themselves and truly dial it in.
- Dahlstrom speaks on behalf of the group, and says her goal is to make it back to the CrossFit Games this year. She acknowledges, “it will obviously be an intense fight for the Games spots, especially in Europe. However, I think we have a good shot and I’m very excited to put 2020 behind us and look forward.”
- “By training together we help each other get better and can possibly reach further than if we were all training alone,” Dahlstrom concludes, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The bottomline: These three athletes specifically are a great test group for this model. They have each been close to breaking through to the highest level on their own. If they are able to qualify in what might be the most competitive semifinal field, you can bet on the fact that more and more athletes will want to seek out these types of focused living and training environments.