Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Wanaka Freediver Homestay

I just wanted to let you know that Deep South Freedivers is now offering a freedive homestay. Come and stay in stunning Wanaka, New Zealand, train with me daily (pool or lake - it's warming up now) and I'll coach you, receive full board (meals and basic accomodation) and have a bit of spare time to explore the region. Please comment with your email if you're interested (I won't post it) and I'll send you some more information. As of 1 October I no longer have work so have plenty of time that you could benefit well from.

Cressi World Record Challenge

25-28 September 2010, Naenae & Porirua Pools, Wellington, New Zealand

We were coming up to Wellington anyway for Simon's mum's exhibition opening on Friday so we stuck around for the competition - worth a try.

The competition was organised for Dave Mullins to set world records in Dynamic and Dynamic without fins since his national records in both events exceeded the world records. I think he had a glimmer of hope for a static too but that faded once he put his head under. He was sucessful and made nice clean dives to 265m and 218m respectively, but unfortunately did not push out his dynamic without fins national record of 232m.

I didn't have high expectations which helped reduce some of the pressure on me (very nice). I don't really want to make excuses but my pool has been shut for the last three months (re-opened on Saturday funnily enough) and I've spent the last four months commuting to Queenstown from Wanaka daily, over NZ's highest sealed road, through snow and ice in my little two wheel drive car, mostly in the dark and working long days. This is a photo of the summit of the Crown Range (taken on the way to the airport departing Wellington) - it's meant to be spring time now.

Anyway, I've managaed to increase my training in the last month from one in water session per week to two, by staying over in Queenstown one night a week and driving to Cromwell on the weekend, plus a couple of rather fatigued dry sessions. I lose about 20% of my ability when fatigued so really had no idea of my capabilities prior to the competition and was hoping that everything would come together in time. Thankfully a few things did. Having a couple of days off work before competing and some good sleeps helped enormously. My dives have only just come back to feeling wonderful again after having such a big break, firstly from the pool (training in Egypt & the Bahamas), then holidaying and then settling back into "normal" life. Please remember that eventually all your training will pay off and long dives do feel fabulous!

Since the last competition I've managed to fit in one max dive with my monofin, simply because it's hard to focus on more than one event with such limited training time, but feel that my technique is really improving (feeling much better than ever before). I managed 177m in the competition, which I was pretty happy with. I do have high hopes for future months but I guess we'll have to wait and see - I'm hoping that with some proper training and a bit more technique work to make everything more natural that it will all start to come together soon. The comp dive was still a bit slow: 3:02, which is that time I'm aiming to make it to 200m in when the technique actually starts to work properly.

I did dynamic without fins on Monday after a day of rest, good sleep and a lot of eating. The dive felt great (remembering that they are just starting to feel really wonderful) but there were still some issues. I feel my buoyancy has changed again in the last week or so (or perhaps the Porirua pool water is a little different) and it affect my stroke count each length. I made it to the 161m and came up but had one of the world's tiniest black outs (I could remember seeing the marker on the bottom indicating when I'd arrived at the WR distance). Anyway, it meant disqualification so I had to try again today. Today I opted for the safe option and decided to get a white card rather than chase numbers (always my preference). I managed 156m without fins with a white card. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't 5m further (the world record is 160m) but I feel that I would have suffered the exact same fate as yesterday had I pushed through. It did save me $1000, which is quite significant considering my employment contract ends 30 September and I'll be without work again. There are definitely still things to work on as I essentially haven't had the time this year to work through any of the finer details. The next thing is to figure out how to stay under longer than 3 minutes. My 156m was 3:06, which is about the right speed. Please feel free to comment and post ideas... :)

If you haven't already, please become a fan of AIDA NZ on facebook. You can view videos and get regular updates on what is going on here in NZ. I also have a facebook page where you can click on like and see updates on me as a freediver and Deep South Freedivers.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Wellington Winter Champs 2010

Sorry for my poor updating skills lately. With commuting to work (through snow and ice in the dark twice a day over NZ's highest sealed road), working long hours and the local pool being shut for maintenance, I haven't had a lot of time or energy to dive lately or really do anything recreational. I'm having a day off work today thanks to the heavy snowfall to low levels on the Crown Range that stopped me getting through early this morning.

I started organising the Wellington Winter Champs for the Lazy Seal Freediving Club before I took the job in Queenstown, but managed to get it done without too much stress, thanks to my supporters in Wellington.

I went up there not expecting too much from myself. One pool session a week and a couple of dry breath holds don't really account to enough training in my mind. Anyway, the competition was good fun, with half the competitors using this as their very first comp. We had the rec grade who blew us away with their abilities (a little too good for a fun grade I must say).

I managed a 5:59 static, 151m dynamic and 154m dynamic without fins. The last one surprised me, but perhaps the training (two comp dives) the day before plus a couple of good sleeps really helped. Before you say anything about the comparison of the two distances, I hadn't really been training with the fin on and it just felt heavy and sluggish - I'm working on that now... In the no fins event I received a red card, but managed to get it overturned in a protest that went on for 11 days and was taken to the top AIDA International judges for debate. I exited, supporting myself on the side of the pool, where unfortunately the judge's foot was marking my distance. So, I touched it accidentally and any touch from another person in the 30s after surfacing is disqualification. My protest did not deny that this happened but that it was an error of the officials, therefore should be counted in the favour of the diver.

Full results are available on the Lazy Seal Freediving Club website: http://www.lazyseal.co.nz/content/results
The Lazy Seals are also on Facebook if you're keen to know what the club is up to and see some photos from the competition.