CrossFit Games

No Swimming in Dubai? What the CrossFit Games Can Learn From This

December 8, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Dubai CrossFit Championship
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Based on recent event information sent to athletes, which include recommendations about necessary apparel and a tentative schedule for the three days of competition (December 16-18), all indications are that for the first time since at least 2016, there will not be a swimming event at the Dubai CrossFit Championship this year.

Why it matters: Similarly to Dubai’s competition, the CrossFit Games has featured a swimming workout every year going back to 2011, most of which have occurred in open water. And for a competition which dubs itself as unknown and unknowable, that has become a very predictable test at the Games. 

  • It is true that different iterations of swimming have existed at the Games in terms of distance, venue, order of events, and movement pairing, but it’s a fairly foregone conclusion at this point. 
  • In contrast, Dubai is making a statement: be ready for anything. And in this case that means, also being ready NOT to do the thing you assumed you would be doing and perhaps the points that come with performing well. 
  • It seems that the CrossFit Games should be striving for that element of unpredictability as well. 

Remind Me: Since 2018, Dubai has featured not just swimming, but open water swimming; sometimes even more than one scored event in the ocean. 

  • Open water swimming was included in all events since 2018. 
  • Pool events were featured in 2016 and 2017.
  • *Some information from before then is unavailable, but it seems possible based on conversations with those familiar with previous events that they’ve had swimming at a majority of events going back to 2012. 

And yet this year rather than swim, the athlete’s off-site location will be at SkiDubai, an indoor ski slope in the Mall of the Emirates; the first of its kind in the Middle East. 

The big picture: Swimming is an excellent test of fitness, but is it necessary to include in every version of the Games? There might not be a perfect answer to that question, but kudos to Dubai either way for not allowing themselves to be painted into a corner, and instead, taking the initiative to push forward in new and unique ways. Sometimes the most clever decisions are the ones about what to leave out, not what to include. 

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