Last weekend at the Sleeman Sports complex 7 teams of freedivers faced off against each other in a “medley relay” style pool competition. The competition consisted of 3 disciplines; static (STA), dynamic (DYN) and dynamic no fins (DNF) with competitors competing in one discipline each. The winning team would be the one with the most cumulative points by the end of the competition.
The competition commenced with static on Friday evening. Ask the majority of freedivers and they will tell you this is by far the most mentally challenging discipline. Athletes lie motionless on the surface of the pool and compete to see who can hold their breath the longest. With nothing to distract you it is a mind game in resisting the build-up of carbon dioxide and overcoming the urge to breathe. 0.2 points are awarded per second that the athlete’s airways remain submerged.
Luis Ramirez from Venezuela got his team off to a strong start with the longest static of the competition, an impressive 6 minutes and 22 seconds. Jennifer Budworth having never competed at a freediving competition before achieved the longest static out of the women with 4 minutes and 43 seconds.
Saturday morning was the dynamic no fins event with competitors swimming as far as they could on one breath without the assistance of fins. In the DYN and DNF events teams would receive 0.5 points per meter swum underwater. Michael Bates took out the no fins event with 125m and Sandra Dohring also competing in her first freediving competition and the only woman in the DNF event came in second with 86m. Damian Hector completed a solid 66m to maintain his team’s first place position but there was still one event remaining.
The last event of the competition was dynamic with fins and with the first 5 teams sitting less than 20 points apart the result was not going to be easy to predict. Gavin Phillips managed a personal best swim of 150m bringing his team into a strong lead. Frederic Maire was the last competitor of the day and would need to complete a 173m swim to secure the win. An impressive distance but not out of his capabilities. Frederic went on to surface at 181m, the biggest swim of the competition, but was unable to complete surface protocol and was presented a red card and 0 points leaving the win for the team from the Goldy freediving club. Congratulations Gavin Phillips, Jennifer Budworth and Sandra Dohring.