Rebecca Coales, trained by Steve Millard of the freedivers.co.uk group, managed to extend her own record from 179 metres to 186 metres distance underwater swimming with a Mono Fin at Grand Central Pool operated by Life Leisure on Saturday the 29th November. Overseen by internationally qualified judges from the main Freediving agency, AIDA International, the total dive time took 3 minutes.
It was part of a larger competition, where athletes from around the UK came to Stockport 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, and the highest point score wins. There are also depth disciplines but this competition just concentrated on the pool.
Rebecca won the overall female competition on the day, but an excellent swim by Becki Ryan of 163 metres was a very respectable second position. In third place was Scottish number one no fins diver Katey McPherson who has recently done a no fins clinic with www.learn2freedive.com swimming 107 metres with no fins on. This is much harder to do in a 50 metre pool than the normal 25 metre pool as there is less benefits from the push off.
For the men Adam Drzazga won overall with a 136 metre dynamic swim, and in second place was Lorenzo Baldecchi with a decent static. Third place was Hungarian freediving champion Mike Benke. Interestingly, Jason Kirkpatrick from the Scottish Apneists UK group, who was the opener but wasn’t officially entered into the competition, put in a 5 minute 22 second static and would have won the mens’ title after only a few months training in the sport. One to watch out for.
Freediving has been growing steadily in the North of England, with freedivers.co.uk operating groups and running professional courses for well over a decade. Freediving isn’t just about competition, however; it is also an enjoyable recreational activity which has taken the club to all parts of the country. freedivers.co.uk started in Manchester but now have clubs in Liverpool, some in Yorkshire, Wales, Scotland and Crewe with people travelling to them 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 who are looking to improve their style and ability… and of course it holds the exciting possibility of records for those who have good swimming style.
This competition was a small National competition, part funded by the BFA (britshfreediving.org) , and was great practice for the athletes ready for the International competition freedivers.co.uk have on the 21st/22nd March 2014 in Liverpool.