Saturday, 25 June 2011

Wellington Winter Champs 2011

It's been a very long time since I competed. I really struggle for motivation in the meantime. Our last competition was eight months ago (if you don't count the depth comp that I very diligently sat out of and just participated as the safety diver).

Three months ago I moved from Wanaka to Palmerston North for work. Basically because there was none in Wanaka. Luckily I have a good group of reliable and enthusiastic buddies to train with and we have finally managed to arrange lane space to train in. Unfortunately we were struggling to get lane space initially so had to do a lot of static training in the play pool. This shows in my competition results. My statics in training have improved significantly. While I struggle to do anything close to a personal best in training after work I can tell when things are improving - the dives feel easier and I start to achieve greater performances. My dynamics are improving steadily but still have a way to go to get back to my previous results. I do feel they are on target, but definitely still require some work and dedication.

The annual Wellington Winter Champs 2011 are organised by the Lazy Seal Freediving Club. It was the first year I have not organised the event and it was a pleasure to sit back and see the boys have a go (which they managed very well). It was nice to be able to just concentrate on my own performances for a change.

My first event was Static apnea. I felt very relaxed and quite confident. I hadn't done anything truely magnificent in training, but my exhale training had increased by about 20s in the month prior and in training my comfortable max had increased by about a minute. It was one of the most comfortable dives I've ever done. The dive was no warm up (just relaxed on the side), no hyperventilation (no change in breathing patterns from normal), and no samba. I got my first contraction at about 4:15 without having to really hold them off. They did come quite regularly after this but they remained small and I managed to stay relaxed and in control. I aimed to not put my hands on the side until after 6 minutes as this normally makes me feel uncomfortable and I generally pull out quite soon after. I managed to not put my hands on the wall until around 7 minutes. I also asked my coach (Chris) to start the clock late as so many people pull out of there dives directly after a specific time call when they feel they've done enough. Anyway, he made me think I was about 10s behind where I actually was. I managed a new personal best and new national record of 7:34. The record places me second in the world after Russian Natalia Molchanova.
The whole dive was very relaxed and wonderful, a true testament to no warm up diving and my theory of retaining absolute relaxation prior to and through the first breath into the dive. As usual for anything longer than about 6:30 I felt very tired and wobbly for a while after. It seems to take me a long time to recover from these big statics.

Here is the video, sorry it's not very exciting viewing!

Unfortunately I felt a bit exhausted after the dive and it showed on my dynamics that followed. I managed 156m with the monofin (must start training with it again) and 144m no fins. I was hoping for a bit more in both, but I'll keep working on them and we'll see at the next competition.
A big congratulations to my Palmy dive buddy Romain Doris, who is pretty new on the competitive freediving scene. He managed 180m dynamic without fins, which places him 7th in the world and will give him the French national record (if AIDA France finally changes their dope testing policy for national records that makes national records unachievable for those who are not sponsored). Also to my other buddy Tania Wong, who is going to a be a really great freediver - we just need to give her a little more time. Tania managed a 104m Dynamic without fins.