Phillips Places 2nd At Powerlifting Meet
Who says you can’t be all brains and all brawn? Certainly not Carolyn L. Phillips G, a second-year mechanical engineering graduate student, who placed second in the Collegiate National USA Power Lifting competition.
This is the first time MIT was represented at the event.
Phillips attended the March 10 competition in Alexandria, La., with her coach, Todd N. Chamoy ’99, who is also the women’s track and field throwing coach.
“I was the second lightest girl in my weight class and the most inexperienced,” said Phillips.
Phillips competed in the 148 lb. category, the most populated class; she weighs only 138.1 lbs.
There was the additional intimidation of competing against official college power lifting team members from institutions such as West Point and the Naval Academy. Many of the women had competed in nationals before, placing Phillips at a disadvantage.
Also, the competition also brought “the most rigorous depth judging I’ve ever seen,” according to Phillips.
Despite these factors, she lifted a total weight of 750 lbs., which earned her second place.
Power lifting competitions consist of three events: bench, squat, and dead lift. Phillips scored 145, 275, and 330 lbs. in each of these categories, respectively.
Competitors are allowed three lifts in each category of any weight they choose. This is what creates difficulty for the competitors, since they must be entirely aware of their capabilities.
“Many people confuse power lifting with weight lifting,” stated Phillips. She explained that weight lifting, made up of chin/jerk and snatch, is an official Olympic sport, while power lifting is currently not.
Although Phillips was physically active as a Navy ROTC member and an MIT women’s hockey player for four years, she began lifting during her senior year.
Phillips’ primary reason to lift was to excel on the ice. At the time, it was her third season on the women’s ice hockey team and the team had just obtained varsity level status.
“I just figured, what the hell, I’m going to be the best hockey player I can be,” Phillips said when explaining her initial motivation.
Phillips sought coach Chamoy through a friend who had been training under his skilled supervision. Chamoy gladly began coaching Phillips three or four times weekly to start.
Phillips tried lifting competitively about a month ago when she attended an open Rhode Island state competition. “Everyone [there] thought I was crazy,” she said, “because I was ‘lifting raw.’ I didn’t know they wore gear.” Yet, even without gear, Phillips scored enough to continue on to the U.S. collegiate competition.
Phillips is disappointed, however, that 760 lbs. is required to qualify for non-collegiate nationals, which leaves her only 10 lbs. short. Competitors in collegiate competitions cannot be over 24 years of age, Phillips explained, while non-collegiate nationals allow women of any age. “Non-collegiate nationals is more difficult since women lifters peak at around 30.”
Her next power lifting challenge is to lift at least 760 lbs. in an open state competition, which she believes is definitely achievable.