Barbell Club member eyes Olympics


Robin WItt conducts a clean and jerk lift at a meet in La Crosse.

Brian Gale, Arts & Recreation Journalist

The UW-W  Barbell Club  is an integrated powerlifting, olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding club. They compete as a team, but it is more of an individualized sport. Competitions are multiple events and each lifter gets a score that is then compared to the rest of the other competitor scores. They have two different divisions: the Olympic division and the powerlifting division. The Olympic division competes in snatch, jerk and clean. While the powerlifting competes in the squat, bench and deadlift. 

Junior biochemistry Robin Witt has been part of the Barbell Club for the past two years. This year being her third, she’s qualified for the Arnold Classic in Ohio for Olympic lifting along with two other UW-Whitewater students Joey LeMere and Dalton Johnson.

Witt has also qualified for the under 25 nationals, which are new this year in Las Vegas. For Witt, competing against some of the best can be a little stressful.

“It’s definitely a little stressful but it’s a very tight knit community. I also trained at an Olympic facility over this previous summer down in Nashville, Tennessee, and at that facility, I got to know a lot of big faces there,” Witt says. “And it’s just having that really tight knit community. It’s stressful because you’re at that competition and you’re wanting to do really well.”

Witt has been very busy preparing for her competitions and has been working on the events that aren’t her strongest in hopes of snatching some medals. Preparing for a competition also means being mentally prepared.

“Olympic lifting personally is a very mental game at this point. You can do all the training, but if you’re just not mentally prepared to put up some really big numbers, then you’re just not going to put up those numbers. So I’m doing all the regular training but also mentally preparing myself,” says Witt.

Witts strongest lifts are the clean and jerk and also her back squat. If Witt advances in nationals she will then qualify for the Olympic trials, which is her goal right now. Her end goal is to qualify for the Olympics. Although, she is just really excited to be competing against some of the best weightlifters and the really big names in weightlifting. 

The Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio takes place March 3 -6, and the under 25 will take place in Las Vegas June 25 – July 3.