Already more than a week ago but worth mentioning here I think...
I have good memories of this place because last year I did my first and so far only 8 minute static in competition here. Like all Belgium competitions this one included all three disciplines. Last year I messed up my dynamic and nofins for various reasons. My body was still tired from the static (all three disciplines are done within about three hours) and I was very satisfied with the static result. This made that I had little motivation to endure the mental and physical challenges of long dives. In last years competition there were people with far more constant results who eventually won the competition. Usually I try to focus on the overall result and if the opportunity presents itself I try to grab it regardless of anything I wanted to do afterwards. There are only very few competitions I go to and who wins a competition is quickly forgotten. What counts more (for myself as well) is the place in the international Aida ranking and the best performances in each discipline. However, for me freediving is most of all about getting to know my body and mental side and work from/on/with that.
So my goal was to take first place in the overall competition. There were a couple more candidates for that spot (Sergio, Daan, Igor and some Belgium guys I knew little about) so this would be a challenge.
We started with static and I did a nice 7:08 which was 4 seconds less than Thomas Moureau. To tell the truth I did not like that ;-) . It's great for Thomas and I was hoping he would give the king of belgium (pool) freediving (Jean-Pol Francois) a good scare. JP always had by far the best performances so it is good for him to get some competition. Apparently belgium national records can be set at any training as long as there are judges present. This made the 7:12 from Thomas the best belgium static performance in competition! (not 100% sure I have the facts straight here, but this is what I've been told) Number three in static (Sergio) was about 30 seconds behind us. This translates to 13.2 meters Sergio had to win back in the next two dynamic disciplines.
Dynamic with monofin: my recent longer dives have all been done in perfect circumstances (one of the best 50 meters in the world) while my personal best in a 25 meter pool was about 50 meters less. This pool in Namur was only 1.1 meter deep on the shallow side but I was training that a lot lately and did no longer feel the stress of having to make many turns with my monofin. I was eager to improve my p.b. here. Nothing much to say about the dive itself, it was not very interesting. I could keep motivating myself to continue swimming although I had better days. I surfaced a bit to my own surprice. Still a good distance with 169 meters but soon after I knew I could and should have made the turn to have the 200 in sight for future dives. But I didn't and had to make the best from what I've got. Sergio did a personal best in competition with 175, Igor also did a personal best (I hope he picks up a monofin and starts training with that), Thomas got no points because he forgot to take of his noseclip during the surface protocol and Daan did a nice 157 dive with cursing from beginning to end. Very quick swim - I can tell you that! :-) So one happy Sergio, one slightly irritated me, one steady as ever Igor and one bouncing Daan. Obviously I'm forgetting many performances here. The results can be found at the link at the bottom of this post. One thing I'd like to say is that training partner and friend Danny Martherus made a huge dive of 132 meters (I'm in that video to somewhere) after only training with a monofin a couple of times. Way to go Danny!
Dynamic without fins: people getting tired. Dreaming more about big plates of pasta then about long dives with lactic acid filling up their arms and (most of all) legs. The funny thing is that people that don't train DNF ofter or have personal bests way below their capabilities did very well. I liked what the dutch women did with Judith's easy looking 100m, Natascha's over 50m and Pauline's almost 50 meter dive. To bad Nanja had a mouthdip and therefor a red card but that's just good motivation for her to pick up training more seriously again.
I thought Sergio would swim before me and that I would therefor know what I had to do. I was mistaken and I had to go first knowing that his best in competition was 125 meter. I swam and swam and swam some more until I was getting close to 125 where I knew that every meter would drastically increase my changes. After the 125m turn I did one more stroke and realized I had not been this close to my personal best and national record (153 meters) in about 18 month. I still felt good, made the turn and surfaced at 155 meter. I had a samba/LMC (loss of motor control) for a second which I did not feel coming but managed to hold it together and got a white card. The tiredness of the long day and the fact that the lines between the lanes could not be trusted because they were extremely loose both must have played a role here. I guess about half the red cards in this competition were caused by those lines and because neither of the four floaters we were handed by the safetydivers had enough buoyancy to keep us afloat. They should tape a few together instead of keeping two seperate floats per safety. Anyway - Sergio did his nofins, which was 100 meters, his limit for the day after his 175 dynamic. So I could have swam 62 meters less to still win the competition. But of course I'm stoked that I did more than that.
This is the movie Daan shot of the 155 meter dive. At the end he gets exited because he didn't see the record coming and neither did I to be honest. :-)
The competition results can be downloaded from here.
11 months ago