British powerlifter, Kate Sweatman, competes in the super heavyweight class in the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). Her bench press has been skyrocketing lately. She joined the 200-kilogram (441-pound) club at the 2022 English Bench Press Championships and has shown no sign of slowing down.
Sweatman competed at the 2023 European Powerlifting Federation (EPF) European Bench Press Championships in Bordeaux, France, against stiff competition. However, she scored a new British record in the equipped bench press of 215 kilograms (474 pounds) on her second attempt — the biggest bench press in tested women’s history in the UK.
2023 EPF European Equipped Bench Press Championships Results — Kate Sweatman, 84+KG
210 kilograms (463 pounds)
215 kilograms (474 pounds) — New British record
232.5 kilograms (513 pounds)
Check out Sweatman’s lifts in the video below, courtesy of her Instagram page:
Unfortunately, Sweatman missed her opening bench press at 210 kilograms (463 pounds). She had difficulty bringing the barbell to her chest and lost control of the weight at the bottom.
Sweatman faced six-time world champion Hildeborg Hugdal of Norway, who has been at the forefront of equipped bench press in the IPF for two decades. Hugdal’s first lift of 222.5 kilograms (491 pounds) went smoothly and propelled her into the lead.
Sweatman chose to increase the weight to 215 kilograms (474 pounds) for her second attempt, despite missing her opener. It’s one of the quirks of equipped lifting that sometimes increasing the weight can make it easier to overcome the resistance of the shirt for an easier press. Sweatman’s second attempt was a fast press; three white lights later, and she was on the board.
A door opened for Sweatman when Hugdal’s second attempt at 230 kilograms (507 pounds) was initially given by the referees but overturned by the jury. Hugdal asked for the same weight for her third attempt, so Sweatman seized the opportunity to go past with 232.5 kilograms (513 pounds).
Athletes are allowed three changes to their third attempts in a bench-only competition, so Hugdal changed her attempt to 232.5 kilograms (513 pounds) to ensure that she lifted after Sweatman and could react if needed.
Sweatman moved the barbell with authority and got it to the top but, unfortunately, the bar dipped, and the lift was turned down, two to one. With the gold medal secured, Hugdal was free to use her second attempt change to go for a world record of 235.5 kilograms (519 pounds) — it was successful and secured Hugdal the biggest women’s bench press in IPF history.
Top Spot in the UK
215 kilograms (474 pounds) was enough to give Sweatman the silver medal ahead of Ágnes Szabó, a legend in IPF benching. Sweatman set the new British equipped bench press record and snagged the biggest bench press in tested women’s history in the UK.
Although Sweatman didn’t score her final lift, which would have added 17.5 kilograms (39 pounds) to her record, it was the merest technical failure. She handled the weight well and had the strength to lock it out.
Sweatman is ranked in the top 10 IPF female benchers and looks set to make a run for the top. Whether she returns to full power competition next or sticks with bench only, the bench press world record is not safe.
Featured image: @weightykate
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