Alexandra Karnilovich, aka Underwaterbat to her colleagues and “Sasha” to her friends, is a young and talented diving instructor. She has recently won the final of the DAN MasterTrim 2016, the first international competition on buoyancy control in scuba diving. An active DAN Member since 2014, Sasha was born in Moscow (Russia), and currently lives and works in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) at the Urpeko Gasteiz Buceo diving centre.
The final was held last November 19th in the magnificent setting of Y-40 The Deep Joy, the world’s deepest pool. The nine finalists, winners of the three qualifying rounds, were confronted in a challenge to the last breath, finally determining who among them was better at mastering trim and buoyancy underwater. The divers made two dives, one during the day and another during the night. They were required to follow a precise dive profile created by DAN specialists, so all of them could measure their ability of control underwater. Data was recorded by two dive computers, a personal one and a second one provided by DAN Research. At the end of the two sessions, the dive profiles were analysed through the Diver Safety Guardian logbook, which calculated the final score on the basis of recorded data. Sasha ranked first thanks to a performance that bordered on perfection. Two Italian dive instructors, Daniele Vasselli and Stefano Paludetto, ranked second and third.
During the night dive, Y-40 staff used reflective materials, t-shirts and banners, as well as blacklights, to create stunning light effects.
The MasterTrim competition was created by Salih Murat Egi, an expert in biomedical engineering and Senior Researcher at DAN Europe. “According to a recent survey we conducted among divers, buoyancy control is a matter of concern for many and a key skill in the opinion of many instructors”, said Prof. Egi. “I was struggling with this puzzle when, whilst watching a documentary on National Geographic about animals and humans learning through playing, I thought about creating a competition. In the diving industry you only find competitions related to underwater video and photography, but they are more related to artistic skills than to diving skills, so they are not designed for every diver.”
The contest was supported by Green Bubbles. “Mastering buoyancy and trim means diving in a sustainable manner, and considering awareness and respect for the environment around us as a priority,” declared researcher Serena Lucrezi. “This is why Green Bubbles, a European project dedicated to recreational diving, whose aim is to maximise the benefits of diving and minimise their negative impacts as well as promote environmental sustainability, has decided to support MasterTrim.”
“Maintaining a stable, horizontal position can help reduce fatigue and air consumption, learn new skills more easily and even protect the marine environment,” said Massimo Pieri, European Research Area Supervisor at DAN Europe. “DAN is committed to promoting dive safety, and MasterTrim is in line with DAN’s mission. This is why we wanted to raise awareness and let other divers know about the advantages of proper buoyancy.”
The contest had a total prize pool of €10,000, and was sponsored by Albatros Top Boat, Y-40, Dive System, Benny Free Shark, TEMC, International Kemer Underwater Days and Innovasub. Prizes included diving cruises and trips, dive computers, BCDs, dry bags, clothing and safety materials.
Find out more about DAN Europe at www.daneurope.org.