Friday, 08 September 2017 06:48

Swift Current powerlifters won medals at provincial championship

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Andrea Bregg (at front) and Valerie Lenuik celebrate their medals at the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association provincial championship in Regina, Aug. 26. Andrea Bregg (at front) and Valerie Lenuik celebrate their medals at the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association provincial championship in Regina, Aug. 26. Contributed

Two Swift Current powerlifters won medals at their first provincial championship in only their first year of competition.


Andrea Bregg won gold in the 57 kilogram women’s open weight class and Valerie Lenuik won bronze in the 72-kilogram weight class at the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association provincial championship in Regina, Aug. 26.
This was only their second competition. Their first competitive event took place in July, where both competed in the 63-kilogram weight class. For the provincial championship they moved to different weight classes to increase their competitiveness. While that could have been a risky move, Swift Current Powerlifting Club Coach Wayne Cormier is impressed with their performance.
“They did really well, considering that they just came off their first competition and that one moved up and one moved down,” he said. “That can mess with your focus, but they did really well and I’m very proud of them for being focused at the provincials, because it’s a big contest.”
He noted every athlete has a natural body weight at which they are able to compete at their best.
“They’ll figure it out as they compete more,” he said. “They will figure where their natural body weight is. ... That's one of the things about an athlete, they have to find what's natural for them.”
Their decision to consider their competitiveness in different weight classes was a sign of their maturity as athletes.
“They looked at the weight classes, they looked at their competitors and I admire that,” he said. “That’s smart. You train hard and you want to medal. Everyone wants to put up their best total that they can, but they want a medal. You want to come home with a bronze or a silver or a gold, and they both did that.”
Lenuik placed third with a total weight of 302.5 kilograms, which was only five kilograms less than the silver medalist.
“Val’s weight class was a dog fight,” Cormier said. “That was very close.”
She was lighter than the other two medalists in her weight class, which put her at some disadvantage. She made a 115-kilogram squat lift, a 65-kilogram lift on the bench press, and she did a deadlift of 122.5 kilograms.
Bregg won gold with a total weight of 232.5 kilograms. She did a squat lift of 80 kilograms, a bench press of 52.5 kilograms and a deadlift of 100 kilograms.
“It felt really good,” she said about her medal. “I was kind of surprised. I didn’t really go into this competition thinking that I want to win or anything like that. I just wanted to go in and do the best that I could, and more have fun than anything.”
She felt more relaxed at the provincial championship than at her first competition in July, and she approached this event differently.
“I think I knew more of what to expect this time and I understood the rules,” she said. “I decided this time that I didn’t want to break any records, that I wasn’t going for the win. I was just going to try and have fun. There was a lot of pressure off myself. The last time I was listening to a lot of music to really inspire myself and this time I was just listening to music that I like, and make me happy and help me relax.”
She finished fourth at the previous competition in the heavier weight class and she felt it was possible to move down to another weight class.
“At the first competition I was at the bottom of the 63-kilogram weight class, and so I thought it wouldn’t be too much of a stress to go down a weight class and that maybe I would do a bit better,” she said. “So I added extra cardio to my workouts every day for about four weeks. I was doing an hour and a half to two hours of cardio a day, and getting up at 3:30 in the morning to go work out before I had to go to work. It was tough, but I’m glad I did it.”
Powerlifters have three opportunities to make a lift in each lift class (squat, bench press and deadlift) at a competition. After each successful attempt they can increase the weight for the next lift and the heaviest lift in each class will count towards their total score. Bregg’s goal was to have nine successful lifts, but her third attempt on the bench press failed.
“I brought it down to my chest and I just could not get it up,” she said. “So that one was a failure, but in the end I felt it was one of the best things that could have happened. ... I failed on one, but at the same time I think it made the competition a little bit better and it took some pressure off myself.”
The squat is her favourite lift, partly because it is the one she struggled with the most when she started powerlifting.
“I feel very proud of my squats, because I know how far I have come in trying to get them the best and trying to get my form correct,” she said.
She only started doing powerlifting seriously since December 2016, and she is still surprised with her success and with her provincial title.
“I’ve always been very much into fitness in different respects, like yoga and Pilates and running and different types of fitness things,” she said. “Recently, I started concentrating more on lifting weights and trying to get my general strength up.”
She is currently studying education at the University of Regina and she will be returning to class for her third year. She will not be participating in any other powerlifting competitions for the rest of the year.
“Instead I think I’m going to just go into intensive training for the next year,” she said. “I’m going to work really hard throughout the winter and then next summer, in 2018, I’m going to do the competitions again with the goal of making it to nationals this time.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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