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Freediving: Alice Hickson & Adam Drzazga named 2019 National Pool Champs!

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Following the recent UK National Pool Freediving Championships, Alice Hickson and Adam Drzazga have been crowned the 2019 British National freediving pool champions!

Alice Hickson bi-fins. Photo Credit: Daan Verhoeven

Alice held her breath for 6 minutes and 38 seconds in the static apnea discipline, swam 162m in dynamic no fins (a stylised form of breast stroke under water) and topped it off by swimming 179m in bi-fins securing herself a national record along the way – and ensuring ownership of all 4 pool disciplines.

Adam held his breath for just under 7 minutes, 6 minutes and 52 seconds to be exact and swam 116m no fins and 117m in bi-fins.

Adam Drzazga Static. Photo Credit: Neil Wood

The overall international female winner was Agnieszka Kalska of Poland who swam 180m in both no fins (a new personal best) and bi-fins (a national record) and held her breath for 6 minutes 49 seconds and the male winner was Tomasz Ratajak also from Poland who scored a hat-trick of personal bests with a no fins swim of 137m, 198m in dynamic with monofin and a 6 minutes 4 seconds static.  The newbie winners were Naura Suksomstarn (04:30 STA, 135m DYN mono, 57m DNF) and Rafael Nolasco (04:52 STA, 177m DYN mono, 106m DNF).

Tomasz Ratajak with Agnieska Kalska

This year’s UK National Pool Freediving Championships was hosted by Bristol Freedivers on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March.  Forty-five athletes from fourteen countries convened on Hengrove Leisure Centre some vying for a position on the podium, others there to enjoy the fun of competing, maybe trying for national record or a personal best.  Five national records fell, Agnieszka Kalska (POL) 180m DYN bi-fins, Alice Hickson (UK) 179m DYN bi-fins, Rafael Nolasco (BRA) 177m DYN and Naura Suksomstarn (THA) 135m DYN and 57m DNF.  And 56 personal bests were officiated.

Freediving is a sport were you can gain as much enjoyment competing against yourself, trying to improve your own distances or time, as you can from trying to beat a fellow athlete.  In fact it is not uncommon to see two athletes in probable contention for a medal coaching one another and enjoying the success of the other.  Despite the fact of competing under the surface of the water, seemingly alone, you never are. You are constantly surrounded by a team of safety divers, underwater media filming and taking pictures, judges and assistant judges following on the surface and probably a coach.

Agnieska – DNF International Female Winner. Photo Credit: Daan Verhoeven

Having a coach makes it very much a team sport where the coaching can have a direct impact on a performance – in static apnea, the athlete relies on their coach to help them mentally and physically relax while resisting the urge to breathe and keep a quiet eye on them until they surface.  In the dynamic disciplines a coach allows the athlete time to relax and focus inward before the dive by taking away all other distractions, and being there at the end of their dive when they surface to talk them through their surface protocol, which has to happen within 15 seconds of their airways clearing the water in order to meet competition requirements and get a white card from the judge.

This is Bristol Freedivers second time organising the National Freediving Pool Championships and they didn’t disappoint, it was a superbly well organised with top judging, brilliant volunteers, excellent safety and quality sponsorship from Mares, the British Freediving Association, AIDA International, 2971, Infinity Freediving Cyprus, Saltfree Divers and Blue Water Freediving School. Congratulations to the female and male UK podium winners Lucelle Simms and Alex Atkins who took home silver medals and Beci Ryan and Gary McGrath bronze.  And to the International silver medallists Alice Hickson (UK) and Artiso Vounakis (GR), and bronze Lucelle Simms (UK) and Jesper Lauridsen (DEN).

To find out more about freediving in the UK, visit www.britishfreediving.org.

Gear News

Gear Maintenance Episode 4: Backplate and Harness Sponsored by Dive Rite (Watch Video)

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Welcome to Gear Maintenance! In this episode I’m showing you how to bring an old, tattered backplate and harness back to life and giving you tips on how you can look after your scuba diving gear.

If you want to support Divers Ready! (for free!) support our sponsor for this series of videos: Dive Rite

To enter to win the XT Lite Backplate and Basic Harness from Dive Rite, you need to:

  1. Subscribe to Divers Ready! if you haven’t already: https://www.youtube.com/c/diversready?sub_confirmation=1
  1. Enter the contest here: https://gleam.io/pncFv/dive-rite-xt-lite-backplate-and-harness-giveaway

When a scuba diver switches from a jacket BCD to a Backplate, Harness and Wing system, it can be very hard to switch back! We’ve packed this video full of hints and tips covering storage, protection, cleaning and maintenance to help you protect the investment you’ve made in your dive equipment.

Good luck to everyone! D.S.D.O James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Equipment

Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock

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Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.

Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:

• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket

F1 LT Yellow RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2207.xx 

F1 LT White RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2211.xx 

For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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