I first met Brandon Swan and Chad MacKay at the 2012 Games. Swan was a big-motor young pup, who had qualified for his first Games at 20 years-old. Now he’s one of the best lifters, and most complete athletes in the sport. MacKay was a seasoned vet. Coming off a 12th place finish in 2010, he had an air of confidence and maturity that inspired the moniker “The Mayor” of Australia, and along with his porpoise-like lungs, led to his 9th place finish in 2012. Swan and MacKay were already friends, and had trained or competed together from time to time. Swan actually complained, like a sibling would about his big brother, that no matter what he did, Chad always one-upped him… Usually without trying very hard.
My favorite story from 2012, and the best example of Chad’s ability to one-up Swan, is from the Thursday before the Games started. Our entire crew was on the track practicing the broad jump (yes, there is a technique), and Chad was running late because of an ESPN interview. Of all our athletes Swan had by far the best technique on the broad jump. I actually filmed one of his jumps with Coach’s Eye, and used it as a demo for the other athletes. He was consistently around 10 feet, and easily had the best trajectory and loading sequence of all the athletes.
Chad walked in after most of the athletes had gone back to the hotel to rest. Swan was still there, along with the rest of the coaching staff. I quickly explained an abbreviated version of what we’d been working on to The Mayor. He simply nodded, and said he’d give it a try. With zero warmup, Chad stepped up to the line, swung his arms a few times, and jumped well past 12 feet. His first jump was a full 18 inches further than anyone else had gone, and was 2 feet further than Swan’s. The collective mouths of our entire staff dropped open in amazement. I turned and saw Swan laughing hysterically. When I asked him what was funny he said, “No matter what I do he does it better, without even trying… I’m gonna go kill myself.”
On Monday Swan sent me video of his newly minted Snatch PR of 274#. This lift would give him true claim to having the biggest Snatch in Australia (for a competitive exerciser)—a title he’s been chasing ever since Chad hit 265# at regionals last year. I congratulated him, posted it, and was glad that Swan finally had a moment of one-upping The Mayor. Only one problem…
This morning I woke up to an email from Chad. He’s been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery for a while, so I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t expecting what he wrote. Here’s what he said: “Have been meaning to drop you a line but wanted to wait til I had PR. Snatched 275 last Saturday. Looking forward to the season and can’t wait to get out there again!”. Chad, seemingly knowing that Swan would PR on Monday, hit a 10# PR of 275# – ONE POUND MORE THAN SWAN – two days before Swan did. This means that Swan must abdicate the throne of the king of Snatch, and give the crown back to The Mayor for a little longer.
Poor Swanny… Maybe the nanos weren’t a good idea.
Chad MacKay – 275# Snatch (10# PR):