Scubaverse’s freediving editor Steve Millard reports on the North of England’s first AIDA freediving competition
Rebecca Coales, trained by the freedivers.co.uk group, managed to extend her own record from 120 metres to 134 metres distance underwater swimming doing just breast stroke. The total dive time took 2 minutes and 52 seconds at the Huddersfield Stadium health and fitness complex run by Kirklees leisure kirkleesactive.co.uk/stadium on Sunday the 17th November. It was overseen by internationally qualified judges from the main Freediving agency, AIDA International.
Rebecca is a yoga teacher and uses a wide range of yoga techniques in her training to build physical strength for swimming, mental focus and relaxation. Rebecca said “The competition atmosphere was very relaxed and so focusing on my dive felt easy. My main problem has been shaking off a winter cold in time for my performance”. Rebecca prepares for her dives with gentle stretches, music and a deep guided relaxation. She is a founder member of the Bristol Freedivers group and also trains with a local fin swimming club… omdiver.co.uk/ bristolfreedive.org.uk
A number of athletes from around the UK came to Huddersfield to compete in one of three disciplines. Dynamic apnea with Fins (DYN), which is swimming horizontally, as far as one can, wearing a single mono-fin or bi-fins. Dynamic no fins (DNF), swimming as far horizontally as one can with breast stroke. And static apnea (STA), lying stationary holding your breath for as long as you can. Each discipline has a point score, the highest point score wins, simple. We also have depth disciplines but this competition just concentrated on the pool.
Other notable results were a 152 metre swim from Bart Lubecki of our Liverpool club using a mono-fin. Masa Sorn took the overall second place turning at 150 metres, also mono-fin propelled. And 5 minute 10 second breath hold from relative newcomer Jason Amson-Orth, and a 4 minute 46 second breath hold from Deb Gaskell, who only started freediving in the last few months.
As Freediving grows steadily in the North of England, we have been running professional courses and have had groups operating for well over a decade. Freediving however isn’t just about competition; it is also an enjoyable recreational activity taking us to all parts of the country. freedivers.co.uk started in Manchester but we have clubs in Liverpool, some in Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland and Crewe with people travelling to us from far afield. There are many opportunities for people to start to try Freediving nowadays. It is a great sport for increasing fitness and losing weight, as a confidence builder for Scuba divers, for snorkelers we can give you an improvement in style and ability helping those wanting to explore the reefs on holiday and of course it holds the exciting possibility of records for those who have good swimming style.
Freediving is an extremely personal sport, you do your own dive on the day, but at the same time you never dive alone without someone properly looking after your safety. I think this, in part, is one of the reasons for the strong, welcoming community spirit within the sport, and all divers encourage the best out of their peers whatever their goal may be.
This competition was also be a good opportunity to make sure every wrinkle is ironed out of the background organisation for the International competition we have on the 22nd/23rd March 2014 in Liverpool. We have some camera testing to do to make it really special. Here is the intro video from this year’s competition, youtube.com/watch?v=ZcgHwawzYE0. Videos of Huddersfield will go up on the Apneists UK facebook page in the next couple of days: facebook.com/Apneistsukfreedivingcompetitions
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Apneists UK Head Coach
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AIDA Education Committee
AIDA UK Chair