Feb 2015 - Lydia Mele
Please introduce yourself. Who are you? How old are you? Where were you born? Etc. Give the readers some background about yourself.
My name is Lydia Mele and I am 16 years old. I was born in Doylestown, PA and grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY. My family and I moved down to Sugar Hill, GA in 2010.
Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both and what weight class(s) and divisions(s) do you compete in?I compete raw/unequipped. I have competed in the 67.5kg, 75kg, and the 72kg weight classes. I mostly compete in the teen division, but have also entered in the Open division.
What was your last competition and how did you do?
My last competition was the Georgia State Meet where I came in first in the Teen 2 division, and second in the Open. I hit a meet PR in the bench and the deadlift, so overall it was a good meet.
When was your first competition?
My first competition was the ‘Georgia and Southern States BP and PL Championships’ in Warner Robins, GA. I was extremely nervous, but I had a really great time. I set an American record and came in first in the Teen 1 division.
How did you improve from your first competition to your most recent?
My form has definitely improved since my first meet, as well as my numbers. I am also more confident in my abilities, and am less nervous about competing.
What is your next competition?
My next competition is going to be the Battle of the Borders meet in South Carolina. After that, I will be competing at the Raw World Championships in Finland.
What do you plan on doing differently for that meet if anything?
Well, I plan to lift more.
Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I live in Sugar Hill, and I train at Quest Gym in Duluth.
What are your hobbies (other than powerlifting)?
I love to read and to knit. I also love playing softball. (I am a catcher..)
Who is your role model and why?
My role models in life would definitely be my parents. My mom is a strong, intelligent, Godly woman who I love to pieces! My dad is a diligent, funny, God fearing man who has really taught me the meaning of hard work.
My role model in powerlifting is my coach, Jeff Robison. He is super strong, has awesome form, and is very dedicated to the sport. He has come to every one of my meets and has reassured me, picked out all my numbers, and basically kept me calm so that I was ready to lift heavy.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?Most people don’t know that I play the violin and piano.
What is your occupation? Does it interfere with competing or visa versa?
I am a full time student at the University of North Georgia. I am currently taking Composition II, American Government, Biology and Lab, and Calculus III. I also work part time as a babysitter and math tutor.
How did you get into powerlifting and how many years have you been competing?
I started out in Crossfit when we moved down to Georgia. I had been Crossfitting for about a year when I decided to compete in a charity event called Deadlift4dollars. Jeff Robison was at the event, saw how much I lifted, and asked if I was interested in training for powerlifting. I thought it would be fun, so I decided to give it a try. That was a little less than 3 years ago, and I’ve been powerlifter ever since.
Are you involved in powerlifting in any way besides as a competitor?
I have volunteered at a few meets, but I mostly just compete.
What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers? And how do your best training numbers compare to your best competition numbers?
My best competition numbers in the squat, bench, and deadlift are 275, 154, and 319lbs. My best training numbers have increased since then, and I am looking forward to a good next meet!
What advice would you give a new lifter just starting out?
I would advise a new lifter to be careful and focus on form when starting out. But I would also advise that person to have a lot of fun and not stress out about competing.
What are your short term goals now as a lifter?
My short-term goal is to win the Sub-junior World Championship title in Finland.
What are some long term goals you would like to achieve?
My long-term goals are keep getting stronger, and to keep competing.
Who is your favorite powerlifter of all time?
There are a lot of amazing lifters out there so it is hard to choose! I am very inspired by Kimberly Walford’s deadlift, Jennifer Thompson’s bench press, and Alicia Webb’s squat. But, I would have to say that my favorite lifter of all time is my coach Jeff Robison.
Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?My training philosophy is to work hard and keep getting stronger while still having fun. My mom and I train three days a week at 6am. We work primarily on the three main lifts, while adding in supplementary movements periodically.
What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three and why?
My favorite lift is the squat because it is generally my most reliable lift, and it is comparatively my most impressive lift.
Who is the most impressive lifter you have competed against?
Technically I competed against Kimberly Walford at the 2014 Raw Nationals in the Open division. (But I wouldn’t really call that much of a competition.)
Do you have any rivals in powerlifting?
There are a lot of really strong 16-17 year old girls out there, and I’ve competed against a lot of them.
If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you, what would be the reason?
There have been a lot of things that have made this a good year for me! I have been accepted into a local college and have already taken a full semester of classes. I was able go to South Africa and compete at the World Championships, where I got the silver medal. I was also able to go on a safari while in South Africa, as well a do missions work with some of our missionary friends. I competed at and came in first at Raw Nationals, and am on the National team! Overall it has been a really awesome year and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me the rest of the year!