Katrin Davidsdottir, Amanda Barnhart and Sam Kwant Join HWPO
In a major off-season move, two-time CrossFit Games champ Katrin Davidsdottir, 2020 podium finisher Sam Kwant and five-time Games qualifier Amanda Barnhart will all train with Mat Fraser’s HWPO camp for the 2023 season.
One big thing: In adding these athletes to their roster, HWPO is solidifying its position as a premier training camp in the sport. Davidsdottir, Kwant and Barnhart will join the 2022 second Fittest Woman on Earth (and 2021 Rookie of the Year), Mal O’Brien, Jayson Hopper, who took seventh place on the men’s side this year and seven-time Games veteran Thuri Helgadottir.
The details: All three athletes previously trained with Ben Bergeron at Comptrain in Natick, MA, just outside of Boston.
- Davidsdottir left to move home to Iceland and train with Annie Thorisdottir and Jami Tikkanen in November of 2021. She failed to make the CrossFit Games this year, although almost was added as a CrossFit Reykjavik team substitute for Lauren Fisher just before the Games started.
- Kwant left Boston in March of 2022 after a flare-up of a chronic illness kept him from qualifying for the Games in 2021.
- Barnhart was the most recent athlete to move, citing a desire to return to her home state of Ohio with her husband and be closer to family.
- Lost in the departure announcements was longtime CompTrain coach Harry Palley who stepped away from coaching athletes for CompTrain last October. Among the athletes Palley coached were Kwant and Barnhart.
- Palley announced in July that he was joining the HWPO team as a coach. Palley coached Kwant during this past season and at the Games where Kwant placed fourth.
Worth noting: None of these athletes are relocating. From HWPO President, Matt O’Keefe: “All of these athletes will spend significant time together throughout the season, but none are relocating to Vermont full-time. Mal O’Brien, of course, already lives there.”
What they’re saying: O’Keefe said, in regards to the new athletes joining the team: “It’s an honor. When we thought about taking on more athletes, it was really about who would fit our culture. We’ve been friends with these people for years and our values line up and they are a perfect fit. We are all ready to get to work together.”
- “It’s a new journey for us but it’s also a very familiar one – not only for Mat & I, but a big part of the HWPO team. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be coached by the HWPO training team and Mat! Mat and I always worked very well together as training partners & this progression to a coach/athlete relationship feels natural to me. I have a lot of fire left in me & I can’t wait to begin this new chapter of HARD WORK!!” — Katrin Davidsdottir, two-time Fittest Woman on Earth
- “Having Mat as my coach is a gift and I’ve enjoyed sharing that with the world. With the HWPO Team growing, we as a group now get to be an example of hard work for others out there.” — Mal O’Brien, 2nd Fittest on Earth
- “I’m beyond excited and proud to be joining HWPO Training. Harry Palley has been my coach for many years and I’m grateful to continue to have him in my corner. Not to mention having Mat Fraser and the rest of the HWPO Training team helping me become my fittest. Ready to get the season going and put in the work!” —Amanda Barnhart, five-time Games Athlete
- “Hard work is something I have been raised to do my whole life. When I was 16 years old I told myself I was going to be a CrossFit games athlete. All the work I have put into this sport and all that I have been through is what has brought me here and that’s what hard work pays off means for me.” — Sam Kwant, five-time Games Athlete and 2020 second Fittest on Earth
- “Working with the HWPO crew has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I’ve never been around such an incredible group of people that know how to work hard and have fun at the same time. Mat, Jake, Sammy, O’Keefe, Eric and the rest of the crew have made me feel like family from day one and I can’t see myself working with anyone else.” —Jayson Hopper, seventh Fittest on Earth
The bottom line: Athletes change coaches. That’s the nature of sports, especially individual sports. But for an up-and-coming camp like HWPO, this is a huge move and will likely pay dividends in the 2023 season.