Jadyn Hamill trains alone in a corner at GV Crossfit, a gym owned by her father, Jay Hamill. She’ll often have him take short videos of her to send to her coach, Michelle Giannino, in Phoenix. She trains at least five days a week but her work is paying off.
On Aug. 17, Jadyn, a 16-year-old junior at Walden Grove High School, won “Best Female Lifter” honors at the 2019 Arizona Weightlifting Youth State Championships in Phoenix. Giannino says Jadyn had a “perfect competition,” and won the award over 10 other athletes at the event.
"The way weightlifting works is you get three attempts in snatch and three attempts in the clean-and-jerk, and basically if you make every single snatch and every single clean-and-jerk, it’s a perfect meet, you’ve gone six-for-six, so she did awesome,” Giannino said.
Jayden managed to lift 58 kilos (about 127 pounds) in the snatch competition and 82 kilos (about 180 pounds) for the clean and jerk. It was enough to qualify for the 2020 Junior National Championships in Pleasanton, California in February. It also marked an improvement from three years ago when she lifted a combined 117 kilos (257 pounds) in the 2016 Weightlifting Wise Junior Championships. She lifted 140 kilos (308 pounds) at this month's competition.
“One of the biggest differences I’ve seen is the weight that I’ve been lifting, it’s gotten heavier over time, and my form, technique-wise, has improved immensely,” Jadyn said.
She said the snatch was the most difficult for her, partly due to a shoulder injury. Snatches are done in one quick movement, starting from a squatting position and lifting the bar overhead.
“I messed up my shoulder a little bit ago… but it’s just always been tweeky sometimes,” she said.
Despite having a perfect competition, Jadyn remains mindful of injuries.
“Even with lifting, you can get any injury, dropping the bar on your knee,” she said. “It’s a scary thought to put myself in that situation so I try to avoid that by taking care of myself, making sure I’m listening to my coach.”
Jadyn puts in about 10 hours of weight training each week and two hours of conditioning. Then there are the hours spent recovering after training, soaking her body in ice baths to help her muscles relax. She also tries to make the four-hour round trip to ALEE Athletics in Phoenix every Friday, where she trains with Giannino.
Jadyn used to be coached by her father, but about three weeks ago she started training with Giannino. Jay met Giannino through another athlete who had been working with ALEE Athletics.
“When you incorporate new energy into training or a training environment, it can help,” he said.
Giannio, along with Alex Lee, owner of ALEE Athletics, has an eye for helping weightlifters and identifying areas for improvement, Jay said.
“Their eye is superior when it actually comes to Olympic lifting. They can see the small things, and in sport, it’s the small things that are going to take you to success. Everybody can be strong but it’s those small things that you work on throughout the year that supersedes others,” he said.
Jadyn is aiming to get a weightlifting scholarship from a university. She's also like to compete in the Olympics. But her newest goal?
“I want to be part of the USA weightlifting team, that’s one of my biggest goals that I want to reach.”