2019 UK National Depth Champions

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British Freediving Association (BFA) delighted to announce David Mellor & Alice Hickson are the 2019 UK Depth National Champions!

Saltfree Divers hosted the BFA National Depth Championships at their Double Dip freediving competition at the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC) in Chepstow, which took place over three days, from Fri 19 to Sun 21 July.  Four women and four men took part in the competition in one of the UK’s deepest quarries with Alice Hickson and David Mellor named the BFA National Depth Champions!

David Mellor prepares (photo credit Neil Wood)

In order to win the title of National Depth Champion, Alice and David had to complete dives across all four of the depth disciplines: Constant Weight (CWT), Constant Weight Bi-Fins (CWT-B), Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) and Free Immersion (FIM).  Alice swam down to 48m CWT, 47m CWT-B, 42m CNF and 46m FIM and David to 50m CWT, 45m CWT-B, 42m CNF and 44m FIM.  Alice, who now holds both the national depth and pool titles for 2019 and David, who was named the 2018 National Freedive Champion at the end of last year are proving what well rounded athletes they are.

Alice Hickson diving down (Photo Credit Neil Wood)

Typical of a British Summer, they saw rain on the first day, cloud on the second, and sun on the third and final day.  The water temperature on the surface was a balmy 18 degrees, dropping down to 15 at 20m, 12 at 30m and then 9 at 40m and below.

As well as seasoned athletes, there were a few first timers:  Georgijs Popovs from Latvia set a national record with a CWT-B dive to 45m.  And James Madeley of the UK made a CWT-B personal best dive of 33m on day one, followed by an easy 28m FIM and 26m CNF dive on day two, taking it all in his stride, cool and calm as a pro under competition conditions.  Vanessa Allen and Tom Elliott who both came second overall performed some strong dives – Tom completed a clean 35m CNF personal best dive, with lots more clearly in the tank and Vanessa performed three competition personal bests (46m CWT, 44m CWT-B and 42m FIM).

Alice Hickson Celebrates on Surface (photo credit Neil Wood)

This year’s Safety Team were Nathan Vinski, Manos Skalidis, Valentin Sadan-Kowadlo, James Cozens, Josh Walton and Warren Bateman led by Head of Safety Neil Arkash.  Neil and his safety team trained together well in advance of the competition, meeting up to complete drills and learn to work as a team.  Cameron Edwards, a trained Paramedic, was on the dive platform each day taking oxygen saturation readings of athletes before and after their dives – helping to determine and highlight any potential (health) issues – thankfully there were none.  This data will be shared with the AIDA International Science / Medical Committee and can be used for studies.

David Mellor about to surface (Photo credit Neil Wood)

The competition was officiated by AIDA judges Kate Jardine and Paul Sutton and the competition was kindly sponsored by 2971 (freediving equipment and apparel) and the British Freediving Association.

This is the second year that Paul Sutton, owner of Saltfree Divers, has run the Double Dip competition at the National Diving and Activity Centre in Chepstow. The competition was initiated back in 2004 by former owner Samphire Amps. The competition is so named as athletes perform two competition dives on one of the days, that and Sam liked the candy that shares its name!

For more information about the BFA please visit their website by clicking here.

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