Pat Keenan certainly pulled his weight for U.S. powerlifting.
Keenan, 52, who lives in Avon Lake and teaches math at Lorain County Joint Vocational School, finished second at the International Powerlifting Federation’s 2019 Classic World Championships, held June 4-15 in Helsingborg, Sweden.
He had a 1,206-pound total in the 163-pound weight class of the Masters 2 division (ages 50-59). The winner, Kader Baali of France, finished 156 pounds ahead of Keenan.
“The guy in first was way out in front, so I basically just held on for second,” Keenan said. “It was great, the competition was fantastic. I loved every minute of it.”
The competition consisted of three events — squat, bench press and deadlift — with each lifter taking their highest score of their three attempts.
Keenan said that while he ultimately had to grind out his lifts, overcoming a little jet lag, he left the event accomplishing his main goal — topping his fifth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships in Calgary, Alberta. He went 9-for-9 on his lifts — no disqualifications — recording a 457-pound squat, bench pressing 281 pounds and deadlifting 468 pounds. His 457-pound squat total set an American record for his age group.
Keenan said he trained six days a week to prepare for the event.
“I trained probably harder than I ever trained,” Keenan said. “The training was very intense. I think the jet lag took a little bit out of me. I wanted to do a bit better, but you just have to adapt and get the best you can get out of yourself that day. Overall I was happy about what I did.”
Keenan qualified for the world meet thanks to a strong finish at the U.S. Powerlifting National Championships in October in Spokane, Wash. He took first at that meet and qualified for a spot on the U.S. world team.
He intends to compete again at the National Championships in Chicago in the fall, however, the new schedule for the world meet will prevent him from returning for a third time in 2020. Keenan said the World Championships will be held two months earlier next year, in April as opposed to June, which will conflict with his teaching schedule. But he hopes to compete at the World Championships again sometime in the future.
He said he was impressed with how much the sport has evolved throughout the years, noticing some pretty big changes recently.
“I’ve been competing for a long time and the sport has grown by leaps and bounds for the last five years,” Keenan said. “The enthusiasm is at another level. They televise it through the web and the live stream production is really great. Family and friends can watch back home, they have announcers and everything. It’s pretty neat.”