Local woman ranked 67th in the world of top CrossFit athletes

Meredith Swindle originally started CrossFit while in school at Jackson Prep, with the hopes of playing Division-I softball
Published: Jul. 29, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2023 at 6:35 AM CDT
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MADISON, Miss. (WLBT) - Meredith Swindle started CrossFit between her freshman and sophomore softball seasons at Jackson Prep. She started doing the workouts with a specific goal in mind.

“I wanted to get to where I could play division one softball,” she said. “I went from hitting three home runs in my 9th-grade year to 25 in my 10th-grade year. When I saw that amazing progress, I was just like okay I’m hooked, how much better can I get?”

Swindle was doing her workouts at the Prep gym, and while it wasn’t always easy, she stuck with it because she was determined to reach her goal.

“There are times when I definitely didn’t want to get up and go work out before school, but I just stuck to it. Once I saw the progress, it was like I hit my stride, and there was no going back from there,” she said.

But the hard work paid off, and Swindle’s dreams were realized when she committed to Stetson University. However, her freshman season did not yield the results she had hoped for.

“That’s when I jumped fully into CrossFit,” she said. “I went the whole summer before my sophomore year and I came back crushing the softball and I was pitching a lot faster. My coach at the time was like, ‘Okay, what’s going on? What did you change?’ So, when I told him that, he would brag about it to other girls who were coming and getting recruited. Saying, ‘Hey, you should probably try this, because I’ve seen it work so well with Meredith.’”

After four years as a Hatter, Swindle left her mark, at or near the top of the school record books in multiple hitting and pitching categories. She went on to play one year of professional softball but did not stop competing there.

Seven years ago, Swindle’s brother approached her about competing in CrossFit as part of a six-person co-ed team. In just their second year competing together, the group came just short of qualifying for the CrossFit Games, as one of the top 40 teams in the world.

“After that, I really got the bug off, okay, I want this, and I’m going to go all-in,” she said.

From there, Swindle started competing individually, and, as she said, went all-in.

“The average CrossFitter comes in for an hour a day and leaves, but I was in here three, four hours because I just had such big goals and dreams,” Swindle said.

Once again, her hard work has paid off. Currently, Swindle ranks 67th in the world for women.

“I’m proud of Meredith. She’s worked incredibly hard, she deserves everything she’s gotten,” said Hunter Owen, Swindle’s brother, who was the one who originally approached her about competing. “I’m just happy to be a part of the journey, and I love to cheer her on and watch her compete on the floor.”

Swindle has come a long way from the softball player trying to improve her game.

“I can still remember my first CrossFit workout. It was something I wouldn’t even see as hard enough to be a warmup now,” she said. “It was three rounds, five pull-ups, ten push-ups, 15 air squats, and I got through the first round, and I thought I was going to throw up everywhere. I just remember thinking that I think I’m going to die, but if this is the way forward, then I’m in.”

But there’s more to CrossFit than just competing. Swindle has seen the benefits of doing the work time after time.

“Why is a big question I ask myself a lot because it is really hard,” she said. “I go back to my why, and what I loved about softball, for the first time in my life when I did CrossFit it wasn’t, ‘Oh your body is pretty,’ or, ‘Your body looks good doing this.’ It was, ‘Oh your body is capable of doing that.’ So, for the first time, I felt empowered in my body.”

Swindle is not alone in her journey; her whole family is involved. Hunter opened his own CrossFit gym, Coyote Fitness and their other two siblings also do CrossFit. Even if they’re not at the gym at the same time, the siblings will often compare their workouts, and brag when they post higher marks.

Swindle did not answer when asked if she was the top sibling, but laughed and said, “They (her siblings) know who it is.” [The rankings can speak for themselves].

Not only do the siblings do CrossFit, but Mom and Dad have also gotten involved. Swindle’s favorite part is sharing her passion with her family, and the improved health they all get from it.

“My time competing is short, but my time of living is long, and this helps me to have a higher quality of life, and I’ve seen that with my parents,” she said. “So, that’s why I encourage people to do CrossFit, because I think your quality of life, and your longevity of life, depends on it.”

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