Canen Smith accumulated 14 medals – first-place medals, mind you – in two years as a member of Clay High School’s powerlifting team.
Smith, a 2011 Clay graduate, earned the biggest weightlifting award of his life on May 18-19 at the 2013 American Powerlifting Federation Master, Submaster, Junior & Teen Nationals at the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn, Mich.
Smith competed in the 181-pound men’s teen “raw” division, for ages 18-19, and took first place with an overall three-lift total of 1,278.7 pounds (the meet was scored in kilograms). He had a 336-pound bench press, a 523.5-pound deadlift and a 418.5-pound squat.
|Clay graduate and world-record power lifter Canen Smith. (Photo by Epifoto)
The runner-up had a 1,113-pound total.
“I took first place for my age and weight,” said Smith, who turned 20 on June 10. “I also won the Teen Best Lifter Award. It was my last meet as a teen. I was very happy with the results I came up with at that meet.”
Competing in the raw division meant that lifters were only allowed to use a weightlifting belt and wrist straps during competition. No powerlifting suits or knee wraps were allowed.
“It was definitely one of the best meets I’ve ever had in my life, because of the progress I made going from lifting with all that gear to competing raw,” said the 5-foot-7 Smith, who lives in Oregon. “This was my first meet competing raw.”
He said he had to cut weight in order to compete at 181 pounds.
“I weighed about 191 until about two days before the meet,” Smith said. “I drank a lot of water — three gallons a day for two days, then two gallons for two days, then one gallon for one day. On Friday (before the meet), I couldn’t drink any water. You don’t eat any food on Friday, either.”
Smith’s deadlift was seven pounds off his career best, which came when he was wearing a deadlift suit.
“That makes a hell of a difference,” he said. “That’s the most I’ve done on the bench without a bench shirt. Lifting in gear is a totally different game. In the gym I’ve benched upwards of around 500 in a bench shirt, probably around 6-7 months ago. If you know how to use your gear and your gear fits right, I know guys who can increase 350 pounds in a bench shirt.”
Smith broke the meet’s teen raw division records in all three lifts and, by finishing in the top three in his age bracket and weight class, he qualified to compete in the World Powerlifting Congress Worlds in Prague, Czech Republic, in late October.
“That’s for a week and I’d like to go,” Smith said, “but it’s a money issue right now. It would cost a little over $3,000. I’m not sure I’m going. It’s still kind of up in the air right now.”
Whether he makes it to Prague or not, Smith said he will continue to compete as long as he’s able.
“I’ll start by going raw, with no gear,” he said, “and then gradually compete with gear.”