FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence played host to a power lifting and a weight lifting event Saturday as competitors from across the region worked to advance in state rankings.
The East Coast Five Bar meet was a sanctioned USA Powerlifting Meet and USA Weightlifting meet and was open to both novice and skilled lifters.
Two simultaneous events is a bit of a rarity, said Heather Foss, co-state chair of USA Powerlifting for South Carolina and director of East Coast Five Bar.
“All of these people are being ranked statewide and nationally and it could possibly allow some of these to go to the national or international level from this meet,” she said.
McLeod Health and Fitness Center’s Maximum Athletic Performance area was home to the event and was packed with spectators who sat in several rows of chairs on one side and the athletes and officials who packed the football-field area to warm up and compete.
“We’re happy to have them,” said Jeff Mitchell, director of McLeod Health and Fitness Center. “They contacted us about three months ago and were interested in what we had done with the basketball court, changing it into the maximum athletic performance area.”
“We have about 12. They’re doing well. It’s exciting, that’s for sure,” said trainer Tory Zwanziger after he watched one member make an especially heavy lift. “We just got a big lift. We’re pretty happy.”
Zwanziger’s social media presence was the thing that drew the organization to Florence.
“Heather reached out to me from some videos I had posted and we had the opportunity as a venue to host this event. They came and visited and like the place so here we are,” Swanziger said.
“We have two events going on in one venue today, very atypical for a meet,” Foss said. “We have a power lifting meet for USA Powerlifting and a weight lifting meet for USA Weightlifting.”
“On the power lifting side we have squat, bench and dead lift and then on the Olympic lifting side we have the snatch and the clean and jerk,” Foss said.
“We have five people who are going for a super total today — they’ll compete in both events in one day and accumulate a super total,” she said.
Supertotal isn’t an official event and is scored only for bragging rights, she said.
“Most of these people have goals to go further,” she said. “We have 15-20 new lifters. They have never done this before.”
The event has drawn attention to the new program at the center, which was already drawing new members.
“Maximum Athletic Performance has done extremely well,” Zwanziger said. “We generated a lot of members from it and did a lot of summer programs for athletes in this area.”
As for the members in the competition, Zwanziger said medals were the goal.
“I hope so, that’s the plan for sure.”
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