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Oh Castro, you sneaky man.

With the hints he had already dropped on Instagram, we knew that Event 1 of the 2021 Games was going to have to do with swimming and paddling. His exact words? “Swim, distance: long. Paddle, distance: even longer.” That was more than enough to give us chills. You know when Castro says something is going to be a long distance, you’re probably going to hurt the next day.

Well, all of the competitors arrived in Madison, and Castro gave them the details. Event 1 of the 2021 CrossFit Games is a one-mile swim, followed by a three-mile paddle.

Except not really.

You know Dave. He always comes back at the last minute with a few surprises up his sleeve. Sure enough, he threw a few curveballs. For starters, he’s taking it way back to the first-ever swim at the CrossFit Games and giving athletes fins to wear on their feet. This might’ve been a relief to them since fins can help you swim faster.

And the paddle? Not so much a paddle after all. Athletes won’t be on their knees paddling with their arms. They won’t be standing with a paddle (which is one thing we had predicted). Oh no. It’s kayaking. They’ll be paddling in a kayak. Check out his full announcement:

While kayaking might not have been on the top of their list, many athletes knew to prepare for some type of water event. Tia-Clair Toomey, Annie Thorisdottir, and Brent Fikowski have all shared photos in a pool or lake.

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A post shared by Brent Fikowski (@fikowski)

There have been enough water events that many of these competitors are at least somewhat ready for a paddle and especially for a swim. But kayaking? That’s going to be the bigger question mark. This is going to be a quick way to start separating the fittest from… the competitors who have no idea how to manage a kayak.

If we look back to 2020, we had Swim ‘n Stuff for Event 10 — four rounds, each for time of 10/15 calories on the air bike, a 50-meter swim, 10 GHD sit-ups, and 10 ball slams at 40/60 pounds.

On the men’s side, we saw Samuel Kwant in 1st, Mat Fraser in 2nd, Justin Medeiros in 3rd, Noah Ohlsen in 4th, and Jeffrey Adler in 5th.

For the women, we had Tia-Clair Toomey, Haley Adams, Katrin Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells, and Kari Pearce.

And! If we go back to 2019, that was when we saw a 1,000-meter swim and 1,000-meter paddle for Event 9. Interestingly, Tia and Haley finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. For the men, we had Matt McLeod, James Newbury, and Noah Ohlsen in 3rd.

So, if history is any indication, we can expect impressive performances from Tia, Haley, and Noah.

Who do you think will excel in Event 1 this year?

If you can’t be at the Games in person, don’t forget that there are plenty of places to watch on. Click here to see your options.

Main image: Dave Castro/Instagram