A Little Story How I Got There
let's face it.... I am a small little freediver who started free-diving 1 year ago.
I am not the one considered to be blessed with the freediving-pro skills you would imagine.
I am not the sporty one in every crowd. Luckily I am not the fattest one in the crowd either.... but that is about it..... =) hahaha. What I am/have, though, is the passion for ocean, diving and everything in between. I was a scuba diver & loved it. But actually became really hooked with the sport last spring at my SSI Level 1 Freediver @ Freediving Ostschweiz with René Trost. Since I picked up freediving, it hasn't been a single week I didn't go diving or dry training for it. Thanks at this point to all my freediving buddies, especially Stjepan who joined most of my session.
I set goals like you should do in every sport you wanna achieve something. Those goals have been my SSI courses at the beginning of course. I saw great results with my training but even more it gave me great value against my daily life struggles. Freediving became not only a sport you pick up just like that, rather than a philosophy you choose to be part of. I was sure to be able to do SSI Level 3 soon and signed in for the next Level, well in advanced. I booked a flight to Thailand/ ferry to Koh Tao and further courses with Blue Immersion.
Next goal set. =) -> Level 3 / FITC Instructor Level 2 (I am afraid, post about that is not finish yet, a little hint here, it was awesome and I loved it) Long story short, I went to Thailand, had an awesome time, not only made a lot of good friends but also learned a loot of freediving stuff. A time I still miss to be part of, like another family. If you ever are able to take time off, cut everything and be part of the freediving community for a while. You won't regret it. I genuinely think freediving people just share the same spirit, love and passion. You will instantly like them.
Having the Level 3 in mind I was going to do in Thailand, I already saw a competition coming up in Switzerland soon after. Cool!! You see a lot of Freediving records setting at competitions obviously. As a beginner you would never have the feeling attending such a comp., right!??? Guess what, I had the same feeling after one year of freediving. =) So I shot Phil Simba (organizer of the Apnea Swiss Indoors Montreux 2019) a message:
just saw your upcoming event.
Looks great. I just started the Freediving-Hobby not long ago, but training quite a bit.
I would like to attend the competition just for fun. That's not your fist year organizing it. What was previously the level of the beginners? DYN/ DNF / STA?
Would you want to join a comp. where all the attendees are far better than you?
Probably not! Shame here. I was a beginner myself (& still am, as you never should not stop to learn anyways) so you want to know where the other freedivers are with their performances. Phil told me that the results (of the worst(!?) freedivers) are within my PBs . So I signed in. Felt so proud to sign in at the first Swiss Championship. :) haha....Even my buddies where supportive. So nice of them, because I know sh*t and still looked forward.
Apnea Swiss Indoors 2019 in Montreux Switzerland
The time shall come the comp. finally started in spring 2019. Switzerland is small and getting from the one side to the other does take you around 4-5h. Or even more if you have traffic jam. Montreux is pretty western of Switzerland and I am living pretty much at an eastern point, so a "longer" ride than most attendees but not the further by far. Unfortunately I couldn't do much preparation, because of my job. But lets be honest; is it worth for a beginner to train more than extra just for the comp!? Hopefully some experts will add their opinion at the comments below. As mentioned before, some people had a long ride to Montreux. Why? Because it was not only a Swiss Championship. The Judges had been able to verify also Continental/ World Records at this International Pool Competition.
The event took place Saturday and Sunday at Piscine de la Maladaire Montreux. So I got up early and arrived nice and calm at the location. I didn't know much about how things going to work. Yeah shame on me I didn't ready the AIDA Competition Manual word by word. Again, other work has to be done sometimes. But I was lucky enough to meet René there, my instructor from level 1 & 2 course. He was up to coach Roland Roggenmoser, so he gets out the best performance. Which he did btw.! Congratulation Roland for being Swiss Pool Champion 2019! René calmed me down even weeks before the event by offering me help at the Static apnea. As I didn't know how that's going to happen I was nervous. Shall I Bring a buddy? Will I need to bring my Gf at this (for her) boring event? Great feeling to have that sorted out. The other disciplines didn't worry me so much. Despite Statics, I like those. Well after Thailand, Statics didn't feel so bad anymore, though. But it all stands and falls with my relaxation.
After seeing how others did static, I had an idea how it works. I was ready with my gear and ready. René did a great job calming me down with Mental Coaching. Time to hit the water, as calm as I almost never had been before. Another few more minutes to relax, before getting to the judges. Ready for making mistake No.1! I went to the judges and thought I have at least another 2min to breathe up. So I started cleaning my mask. As soon my mask was up again I already heard the countdown. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Official Top. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
(you are supposed to start after Official Top but not later than 10s after)
You can imagine, most of my relaxation was gone and I did catch as many air as I could contain. A few weeks before I announced a performance of 3min which I thought I can do easily. With such a horrible start I had a pretty hard time getting to 3minutes, but made it to 3:05. After reviewing my relaxation level I had a few minutes before the official top, that could have been potentially a new PB. But only could have, you know. That was exactly the reason why I signed in, to have my relaxation prepared also under pressure.
Competition DNF (Dynamic No Fins)
1st step as a Freediving Rookie was done at Statics. Next thing was no fin which I love. We do train it all the time in winter, because Switzerland is obviously too cold to do outdoor deep training. That's why we always need to train those pool disciplines. Or fly to the tropics.
Saturday afternoon, a couples of minutes before my Official Top, already nice and calm again. Almost forgot the "bad" static attempt because of the anticipation for DNF. Started nice and relaxed and just enjoyed the pleasant dive. Pool was set to 25m. Even after the 2nd turn, I felt very fresh as I have never before. I need to mention that my current PB DNF was 63m. So I turned nice and easy at 50 and thought; "Ohh cool I am pretty sure I can push it to 75m" But even there I had the relaxation to do another turn and dive to 82m. Unfortunately I messed up my surface protocol and got a red card. I didn't even understand why I got red until I went to the judges for a talk (Montreux is at the French speaking part, so a little language barrier here). It turned out, when I put down the mask and nose clip, my chin was submerged in the water for a bit again and this was borderline. Anyhow, sad this doesn't count as I was really happy with my result. Pushed my PB almost 20m. Learned a lot from this dive, not only about AIDA surface protocol. :D
Competition DYN (Dynamic with Mono- or Bi-Fins)
I went to bed with quite a happy feeling. But had a lot of thoughts about the surface protocol. So I was sure, the next day, something like this won't happen again!
Started not as calm as the previous day. Wanted to fix the white card (which means you passed your result). Dynamic was held in a 50m pool. My training was in 25m pools only, so I really looked forward to this experience. I don't like to switch directions with fins very much even though it turns out quite fluid most of the time. After my start, I kept focusing/thinking of the surface protocol too much and after 75m I already struggled, way beyond my PB. But managed to bring in the 83m safe and sound with the white card. Expected to do a lot more and was pretty frustrated.
It was interesting thought to see the speed and style of the other athletes. Doesn't matter if they did Mono- or Bi- Fins.
Freediving Competition Review
As you can imagine, I wasn't very happy with my performance. But I would have been surprised if everything would have gone well the first time. It was an awesome experience and especially seeing the other athletes showing their performances felt informative. I was surprised about the friendship and passion everybody was showing at the weekend and even helped each other. I didn't expect that at a competition, at all.
I can only encourage you (!) to also join such an event, even if you don't have as great performances as the top athletes in your country already. You can only learn and gain experience.
Cool thing: I am even listed on AIDA Athlete page now. (unfortunatly not all results from Swiss Indoors are up yet (July 19)) -> AIDA International Mirco
Let's hope I can improve those numbers in the future. :)
Never dive alone and let the stress at the surface! =)