Saturday, 31 May 2008


This was in a weekly Palmy paper:

Friday, 30 May 2008

Egypt update

The AIDA board are now reviewing whether or not they're going to allow independant divers, so there is a little hope. Otherwise, Patti, would you like to make your freediving debut at the World Champs this year??? It'll only cost NZ$500 (plus travel and accom which you were going to do anyway) and you'll get a t-shirt and certificate, not to mention that you'll get to stay, train, and compete with some of the world's best freedivers! Doesn't really matter what your results are, you just have to get in the water once. Maybe a quick static. Am I selling it well? It would be fun to have a team. :(

Thursday, 29 May 2008


I'm feeling disappointed and very frustrated. I've just been informed that they're not taking independant divers at the Teams World Champs this year (as they have in the past), so I guess I'm not going to Egypt unless Joy or Fran want to take the plunge and make a NZ team with me! Evidently we only need two to make a team. It's really crappy news when everything has been going so well and I felt I could really take on the world this year. I had two friends coming to meet up and support me in Sharm who I haven't seen for ages, plus I wanted to see the pyramids and sphinx, dive in warm water again, and do a bit more beach star gazing with Nat. Wouldn't be so bad if there were actually people to compete against here, but it's always just me. I guess at least I should now be able to afford to go to both individual competitions next year. Off to training now. I need to put my head under water for a while...

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Dive New Zealand

We got three mentions in the Dive New Zealand June/July issue. You should be able to click on them now to read:

Friday, 23 May 2008

Cover girl

This article makes me cringe for a variety of reasons:

Thursday, 15 May 2008


We're still in the lifestyle/culture section but at least it's something I suppose:

Monday, 12 May 2008


Well, this year is shaping up to be much better than last year (though it wouldn't be too hard). After three competitions I have done 12 dives, furthered 10 national records, made all the records my own and finally removed the "arguably" from in front of being NZ's top woman freediver! I've also pulled myself up the world rankings quite considerably.

I've learned a bit since the world champs last year. The first is to not set goals based on distance or what other people are doing. I need to really understand my body and listen to it throughout the dive - not giving in to the early talk in my head when the dive feels hard, and not pushing myself further than my body will allow me to go on that day. I've learned a lot about the signals that my body is giving me day to day with respect to fatigue, over training, lack of energy, as well as feeling really good, and am dealing with it by ensuring that I get enough to eat and good sleep. I've pulled back my training a lot, reminding myself of what I love about freediving and sticking to that, which means I'm enjoying myself a lot more. I'm hardly doing any specific fitness training, however I am doing a lot of max attempts and technique work. I've given myself minimums for bad days and don't let myself pull out early as the benefits must be the same. I learned how to pack and how to stretch my lungs in both directions. I learned frenzel equalisation and how to start to relax at depth. I've learned how to block contractions. I've discovered that warm ups caused me more distress than they were worth. I learned to relax more in competition and deal with the unexpected. I've found a new level of consciousness during a dive that allows me greater control mentally and physically. I've met lots of new interesting people with similar passions in life and people who I can call on to answer my questions. All this in seven months and I feel like I've barely brushed the surface of this sport! I'm quite excited about what the rest of the year will bring.

The weekend's competition went really well. Thanks to everyone who helped me out with the organisation. There were a lot of you but it makes it so much easier if we all pitch in with even the smallest of tasks. It was great to just have one session per day and be able to chill out and enjoy the afternoons with friends. We replayed the official videos (some in fast forward as some of us do have lives outside freediving) at the BBQ on Saturday afternoon with full running commentaries of everyone's thoughts. Our judges did an excellent job despite being fairly new to this. They all acted in a competent manner and had a good grasp of the rules.

I thought I'd give you a wee summary of my routine to share the knowledge. I do body stretching for about 20 mins before diving. This covers the whole body quite systematically and pretty slowly and carefully. If my muscles feel weak or shakey at this stage I eat some dried fruit to keep the energy up. I then do one or two pack stretches. Normally I get a pretty good head rush doing this, but I say better at this stage than right before the dive. I would then use the bathroom and changed, so I have a bit of time to relax before diving. Basically I ensure that I have plenty of time to get into the water and organise my equipment without hurrying but not so long that I would get cold. I don't do any fancy breathing. I actually try to not think about my breathing at all as this would start to regulate it. I try to keep my eyes closed as much as possible and avoid distractions. I run through the entire dive in my head, usually twice, keeping goals in perspective. I take my breath and go...

For dynamics I wear an Orca Apex 2 triathlon wetsuit. It keeps the chill off and is extremely flexible. It cuts down the number of strokes each length significantly thanks to the additional bouyancy (greater momentum from adding more weight - 2kg for this suit over togs) and is very streamlined and fast. I wear 4kg on my neck and 4kg on my hips to keep me absolutely level in the water. For dynamics I'm wearing a leaderfins hyper pro monofin and have to add another 1.5kg on my hips as it's very buoyant. I should note that I am definitely a floater and this much weight would sink most guys straight to the bottom (unless you're Dave Mullins with 15L lungs).

I think the Lazy Seals are doing so well at the moment because we're pretty competitive amongst ourselves and we generally feel that we should all be able to reach the same level as our best divers and are happy to help each other to get there. Improvement within the club spurs on enthusiasm for others to do better. We do not have a coach, so just work on what we know and our own independant programmes. It seems to be working as we're getting some good rankings. It does mean that our standards are pretty high and we often have to pull things back into prespective for our new divers.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

last national record

Today I got the last national record: 169m dynamic. The dive itself pretty much reinforced my complete dislike of wearing a fin...

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Today was a good day...

Today was day one of the Apneists' Challenge at Trust Porirua Aquatic Centre. I organised this competition as I wanted to set up some national record attempts, but others wanted to take part too, and I'd always prefer to break records in competition as then it seems more like a sport than a stunt. We set it up so the divers could select their event each day, and wed just do one session each day rather than the usual two on day one followed by one on day two. Normally the no fins dynamic is severly flawed by the fact that you've already done one max attempt that day, so I wanted to be able to give my best to this event. Originally I intended to do dynamics without fins followed by a static on day two. But now I'll be replacing the static with a dynamic, even though I still struggle in the monofin. This is the last remaining national record that doesn't have name next to it yet!

I nominated 118m DNF today. It's a pretty easy dive that I can manage even on a bad day, and 118m would take me to the national record, so I felt pretty safe.

I slept terribly. It was a mixture of nerves and the neighbour's party.

A hot shower (muscles felt tight) two breakfasts, two stretching routines and a couple of full packing inhales later I was awaiting my official countdown at the end of the pool. Top time was midday. I got in the pool early as I was overheating on the side of the pool, and my pulse was absolutely racing! I almost managed a nap with my head on the end of the pool and convinced myself that I only had to break the national record, not the world record, so felt a lot calmer before my dive.

I had to get Chris to give me a 40 to top call so I could get a full breath without rushing. Packing seems to take me ages, but it is worth the extra time.

The pool is wonderful. 25m. 27 degrees. Gentle slope from 1.2m to 2m.

The dive went really well. I kept my head together and felt strong. I now repeat to myself: relax, focus, relax, focus, with the occasional reminder to keep my feet together, do strong pulls and hook breath near the end. I felt quite strong at the end, but didn't want to overdo it and miss out on my national record!

Final result: 150m, new national record, not the right judges to make it a world record.

Current world record: 149m, Natalia Molchanova

New world ranking: 1st equal (with Natalia).

Thursday, 8 May 2008

three days until I can have a wine...

Tonight we visited our national museum Te Papa - I haven't been for a while which is pretty poor considering it is a mere block from our apartment. It's the last week of the Whales exhibition. There was no water but some cool videos, skeletons, etc. There was a scale model of some different breeds of whales compared to a person. Half of them go deeper than me on their duck dive! I now realise why the humpbacks semed so big in Tonga - they realy were huge.

There's only one more day before the competition this weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. I keep smashing my personal bests in training, and haven't entered a pool competition since I learned to pack in about October last year. My performances have increased by a similar percentage to my lung volume! I'm trying to remind myself that I only have to break national records and any further distance is a bonus. My usual dowfall is when I set specific minimum distances and forget to listen to my body through sheer determination to achieve the required distance. Anyway, I haven't had a black out in the pool since the world champs last year, so I'm pretty confident of sucessful dives. Porirua pool is amazing for no fins - it's 25m, fast, and a good depth. I'm also trying to stay excited about the comp and not let the nerves take over!