High School Athlete Ty Jenkins Juggles Baseball, Football, Swimming and Winning the CrossFit Games
Middle Linebacker for Branson High School. Butterfly and Freestyle swimmer for the Branson Waves. Outfielder for Branson High School. 2022 CrossFit Games Champion. How did 16-year-old Ty Jenkins get here, and how does he pull it all off?
Baseball runs in Jenkins’ DNA–his father played the sport in college and introduced his son very young. Football and swimming came during elementary school and evolved as he grew. And CrossFit? It came along naturally enough, and Jenkins says he’s seen immense growth in all of his athletic endeavors because of the other sports he plays.
Of course, this doesn’t make scheduling an easy task. Jenkins admits he has “very little free time,” and says his days often start before four in the morning. Between whatever sport is in season, plus CrossFit training, in addition to homework for his rigorous course load, Jenkins is accustomed to a late night into an early morning. During the summer, it’s not much different. Jenkins rises early to swim, then trains non-stop (except for eating, he says) until four or five in the evening. However intense this schedule is, though, Jenkins is sure it pays off in the long run.
- “I think sports have helped me a lot in CrossFit,” Jenkins said. With eight years of competitive swimming under his belt, Jenkins’ score on the 2022 Games all-division workout “Rinse and Repeat” would’ve placed him 21st in the Individual Men’s division. “In swimming, on longer races, you can try to draw others out on the first lap by going fast and letting them try to keep up to make them tired for the rest of the race. I like using this strategy on certain events when I compete.”
The cross-platform help from sport to sport goes beyond CrossFit and swimming for Jenkins. He attributes his mental toughness and composure on the competition floor to his time spent in football and baseball.
- “Long practices in the heat, having to get back up when you’re a little beat up on the football field, or having to leave a bad at-bat in baseball behind you and move onto the next without letting it affect you,” Jenkins said regarding experiences that have made him a better athlete.
It’s a two-way street, too. Jenkins specifically pointed out being encouraged by the strength he had gained in CrossFit when he was younger and could see progress in his other arenas.
- Jenkins: “As I got fitter through CrossFit, I noticed I always seemed to have more energy left in the 4th quarter than anyone else did. I always played the best at the end of the game.”
While Jenkins has experienced the benefits of playing multiple sports firsthand, he recently crossed paths with someone who thought differently: his new high school football coach. The coach, who Jenkins’ high school had recently hired, demanded that athletes come to summer lifting sessions, which Jenkins couldn’t attend because of his hectic schedule leading up to the Games. Though he tried to compromise and find a scheduling option that worked for both parties, Jenkins’ coach wouldn’t budge, so he decided to quit football for the upcoming season.
Though frustrated by the circumstances, Jenkins will take the new free time in his schedule to do a full-fledged Olympic lifting cycle and triathlon training in the offseason, a luxury he’s never had before.
- “I try to keep my fall from being just CrossFit so I don’t burn out,” Jenkins said. “But when winter comes around, it will be time to gear up for the Open again.”
When it comes to burnout, Jenkins has made conscious choices to make sure he still gets to experience some of everyday teenager life.
- “Being involved in other things helped me from burning out,” Jenkins said. “I don’t compete often outside of the Games, I will pick up one or two comps during the off-season but I mainly stick to the Games. I love knowing that I work my butt off every day, it is kind of like a mental reward to have a fantastic day of training, and those days keep me going.”
Though he’s only 16-years-old, Jenkins has his eyes on one thing in the future–CrossFit. His dream, he says, is to swim or play baseball at Tennessee Tech, conveniently close to CrossFit Mayhem, as well as make it to the Games as an individual. There’s no doubt that CrossFit has made a true impact on Jenkins, both as it relates to his future as an athlete and as a person as well.
- Jenkins: “Nothing is over until it’s over. I have a lot to thank my other sports for, not just physically, but mentally. During a hard workout if I have a no-rep, or if I have to break on a set I didn’t want to, mentally I just have to shake it off and get the next set/rep/round or whatever it may be.”
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