Quesnel’s Anthony Faggiani and Shalynn McCauley pushed their limits on the biggest stage either had been on at the Amateur World Powerlifting Congress (AWPC) World Championships in Orlando this weekend (Aug. 16-18).
The two competed for best total weight in squat, bench press and deadlift against some of the top lifters from across the planet.
Impressively, McCauley won gold for her overall performance in the 90-kg-plus women’s division and set Canadian records for her weight class too.
Her first lift was the squat, during which she managed to hoist 348 pounds. Faggiani points out the feat was far and above her best squat ever.
Next up was the bench press, which also resulted in a another smashed personal best. McCauley was able to lift 181 pounds.
She conceded her last lift was a tough one after devoting so much effort to the first two, but she still ended up lifting 319 pounds on the deadlift, which is still a very significant weight.
“Shalynn missed 363 a couple times after that on a technicality,” Faggiani points out. “She picked it up and stood up with it, but it wasn’t quite clean enough for the judges.
“It was too bad but overall a really big day for her.”
McCauley agrees, saying she is happy with how everything turned out considering how important the meet was.
“I was confident coming into it but really nervous because it’s a really big stage down here. I was competing against five or six other women, most of whom were from Great Britain and some of whom were much bigger than me.”
Getting to meet people from all across the world was quite inspirational for the Quesnel powerlifter.
“It’s always really good team spirit as far as all of us hitting out lifts,” she says. “We chatted in the warm-up rooms and in the lineup to lift.”
For her next meet, McCauley will have a couple things to work on in order to improve her results.
“I’ve got to go practise more and get better overall fitness, but there are so many factors on meet day, it’s hard to prepare for all of them.”
Her partner, Faggiani, came up a little short of his expectations but still had a strong meet by many measures, breaking his in-competition personal bests and overcoming a pretty nasty injury.
“All of my three lifts were competition best,” he says, pointing out that while he may have had better results in the gym, he does not consider them personal bests unless they are at a meet, where it matters most.
Faggiani bested his squat and deadlift records by six pounds each and his bench press by record by 11 pounds.
His squat was 606 pounds, his best bench was 374 pounds, and his deadlift ended up being 578 pounds.
“It wasn’t quite what I came to do,” he says, ” but looking back, I’m fairly happy.”
Six weeks prior to the competition, Faggiani tore his bicep attempting a deadlift of the same weight he managed in Orlando.
“I was pretty pleased that everything held up and I was able to get all my lifts done. They weren’t the numbers I was trying to achieve, but that’s part of the sport.”
In order to make the 140-kg weight class, Faggiani had to some excess pounds in the days leading up to the event. He feels the water manipulation may have cost him a little.
“I was a little bit over [weight] which normally is not a big deal for me. Usually I can do the weight cut pretty easily, but with the travel and the heat and humidity here, it was pretty tough.
“It worked out — I made the weight — but it definitely had some effect on my performance.”
On the bright side, his three lifts and total score were all world records for his age category (Sub-Master 33-40) for the organization.
Both powerlifters were extremely grateful for the support of their fellow gym partners as well as their sponsors — Gibraltar Mine and their local gym TNT Nitro Fitness.
The pair have been invited to a big meet in Chicago in October but have yet to decide on whether they are going.
“It’s very soon and we’ve done a lot of competitions this year,” says Faggiani. “But it’s a prestigious event with a lot of high-quality lifters going, so we’re thinking of going to support people from our gym in Prince George.”