With all the political troubles in Cairo, Sharm has been transformed into a ghost town. Most of the tourists left days ago and now the hotel at Freediving World is almost empty. Only a few freedivers grace the pool with their presence and the sea is all ours.
With just 3 weeks to go before the World Championships, I can’t help but look back over my summer of training and feel slightly disappointed. When I began training depth a year ago, I sailed down to 45 metres within just two weeks. Another week spent training at Freediving World in February and I was at 50 metres. So of course I assumed that in five months of training over the summer, a 70 metre target seemed very realistic. But the reality was much different. All summer I’ve been stuck at 50-55 metres and it’s been frustrating. For the first three months we could only train twice a week, I had a cold for six weeks, a mask squeeze, a lung squeeze and often couldn’t dive because I had nobody to train with while Rolf was working. So after all these set backs, I was left frustrated and slightly anxious about the Championships. After about 3 weeks of dwelling on my frustrations, I realized I had to push aside any doubt or negativity and regain my focus and belief in myself.
I’ve been lucky enough to be training side by side with some top athletes while I’ve been at Freediving World. Their advice through my frustrations has helped hugely and it’s clear to see that most competitive freedivers have had the same problems while training. You can train for months on end and get nowhere. Sometimes, your training goes backwards even. It’s all part of the game and the most important thing is that you don’t let it get to you and you stay focused on the positives and keep smiling.
A year ago when I first started training depth, a friend of mine told me about a mental block he had at 50 metres. I replied to him “I wish I could be stuck at 50 metres! That’s an amazing depth!” Well now it seems that I got my wish and instead of focusing on the negative side of not being at 60 metres, I recounted this moment that over the past year I had forgotten and decided to focus on how great 50 metres actually is. I know my time will come and I will reach 60 metres, but until that day, I have put aside any numbers from my head and decided to just enjoy the ride!