| OLDER AND WISER
Out of 84 performances 8 have been DQ.
3 BO, 2 LMC and 3 other.
It seems like freediving has matured. The athletes are behaving better and are mostly diving within their limits. Compaired to the "Red Sea Dive Off" some years ago when every second athlete seemed to come up with some kind of problem, this year's competition has been very controlled. I don't think the 70-meter limit has improved freediver safety in any significant maner. There are still lots of divers that can dive above their limits and put themeselves at risk of hypoxia, but as I said this competition has seen very convincing diving. Performances like these will hopefully show the public that this is in fact a very safe sport - and also make events easier to insure.
Having an experienced freediver as Frederic B in the jury seems to be appreciated among the freedivers. The judging this year is out of my point of view much more convincing - partly because the athletes are complying with the rules better and also because the new "20 second" rule works well. It seems to give the athletes time to recover and the act of removing the mask is tricky to do in a controled maner if you suffer LMC. There has also been a live bottom camera with clear pictures so the judges can watch recordings.
There have though been some problems in interpreting the rules. There is a semantic discrepancy between the French and the English translation of the AIDA rules. This is why some athletes have had their protests come through to their favor.
I missed the point of stressing the fact that Mandy C (CANADA) has made the deepest female dive ever done in a competition (65m). She has, as we know, had the advantage of beeing coached by Kirk K. Other teams are not so fortunate as the German team, who has Herbert N as their coach. He is mostly of trying some new monofin, or playing around with a camera, or experimenting with his new goggles with a small pipe down to his mouth. Today at static training he kept the freezing German team to stay in the pool while he was doing some 7+ minute breathholds. Maybe he was trying to show his team how it should be done. (Since irony isn't so apparent in e-mails I have to point out that what I just wrote had some of it).
Two of the athletes were DQ because the coaches touched the athletes after the performance. Seems like a very silly sport where good performances render 0 points because of details like that. But on the other hand rules are clear - and it could have been easy to follow them.
"We have nothing to hide" the headjudge Frederic B said yesterday refering to videos of DQ dives - implying that AIDA will try to have them publicly shown.
Today, Aida gathered to an informal meeting to discuss the future. Aida representatives will surely summarize the discussions and present them to Aida members. The meeting touched, among other things, upon rules and how they could be improved.
A local research team has done ultrasound tests on the heart of some breathholding freedivers. Lynn from Australia has continuosly done memory tests with freedivers directly after their dives, looking for how hypoxia might impare their performances. Peter L from Sweden has taken DNA samples from some 50 athletes looking for that very special freediving gene.
I have done an informal study that shows that more than 80% of the athletes use airpacking. This technique is said to have been discovered by Bob Croft who had some worldrecords back in the old days when Mayol was still competing. I spoke to Bob for some minutes and the airpacking thing was something he played around with when he was eleven. Just a funny way to
fill his lungs with air. Later, during his work in the Navy as a diver this technique came in handy.