Competitive Freediving

Introduction to Competitive Freediving

Have you ever wanted to see how far you can freedive? Competitive freediving is a sport where athletes attempt to reach the greatest depth possible in a single breath. It is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world with new national and international events being added every year. In this article, we will introduce you to the basics of competitive freediving and some of the key safety considerations.

What is Competitive Freediving?

Competitive freediving, also called Static Apnea, is a sport in which participants attempt to remain underwater for as long as possible without breathing. The sport requires athletes to have strong mental focus and control in order to hold their breath for long periods of time.

Competitive freediving is governed by AIDA International, the world governing body for the sport. AIDA International sanctions events and issues world records in six disciplines: Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea with Fins, Dynamic Apnea without Fins, Constant Weight Apnea with Fins, Constant Weight Apnea without Fins, and Free Immersion Apnea.

There are two types of competitive freediving events: Pool events and depth events. In pool events, athletes attempt to stay underwater for as long as possible in a swimming pool. Depth events involve descending to predetermined depths and then returning to the surface safely.

Athletes compete in both individual and team events. In individual events, athletes compete against each other to see who can stay underwater the longest. In team events, teams of two or three athletes work together to complete an underwater challenge.

The goal of competitive freediving is to safely push the limits of human breath-holding ability. Freedivers train hard to develop the skills and mental focus necessary to stay underwater for long periods of time.

The History of Competitive Freediving

Competitive freediving is a relatively new sport, only coming into existence in the early 1990s. The first recorded competition was held in Greece in 1992, and since then the sport has grown exponentially. Nowadays, there are multiple competitive freediving organizations around the world, with athletes from all corners of the globe taking part in competitions.

The sport of competitive freediving is based on depth, with athletes attempting to reach ever-greater depths. The freediver descending on a single breath of air must overcome the immense pressure of the water column as they descend deeper and deeper. This places immense strain on the freediver’s body, both physically and mentally.

To reach these great depths, freedivers must use a number of different techniques. The most common technique is fin swimming, where the freediver uses a pair of fins to propel themselves downward. This technique is used in all disciplines except for no limits, where competitors are allowed to use any means necessary to reach their goal depth (within the rulebook). Other common techniques include weighting oneself down using weights or using a sled to descend.

There are currently eight competitive disciplines in freediving, all with different rules and regulations. The competitive disciplines are:

  • Constant weight (CWT)
  • Free immersion (FIM)
  • Variable weight (VWT)
  • No limits (NL)
  • Static apnea (STA)
  • Dynamic apnea with fins (DYN)
  • Dynamic apnea without fins (DNF)
  • Constant weight without fins (CNF)

The Rules of Competitive Freediving

There are many different ways to freedive, but in competition, there are only certain freediving disciplines that are recognized. The three main disciplines in competitive freediving are Constant Weight (CWT), Free Immersion (FIM), and Variable Weight (VWT). Each of these disciplines has their own set of rules that the competitors must follow.

The AIDA International Rules

The AIDA International rules are the standard set of rules used in competitive freediving. They are designed to provide a fair and safe environment for both the athletes and the organizers. There are three main sections to the rules: safety, judging, and equipment.

Safety is of paramount importance in freediving, and the AIDA rules reflect this. Some of the main safety regulations include mandatory safety divers, surface markings, and time limits. If an athlete appears to be in distress, the safety divers will intervene.

The judging rules cover everything from how points are scored to what an athlete can do on their dive. Points are awarded based on depth, time, and difficulty of the dive. There are also regulations around what an athlete can do on their dive, such as using fins or a weight belt.

Finally, there are equipment rules that govern what an athlete can wear during a competition. These rules are designed to level the playing field and ensure that all athletes have a fair chance. Some of the main equipment regulations include wetsuits, fins, and masks.

The CMAS Rules

The World Underwater Federation (CMAS) is the international federation regulating competitive freediving. Here are their 10 rules.

  1. Never enter the water through reed, living corals or water plants.
  2. Control your buoyancy.
  3. Keep distance from corals and other animals and do not stir up sediment.
  4. Take care where you drop your anchor during boat dives.
  5. Do not chase, touch or feed wild animals.
  6. Do not spearfish for fun and do not buy or collect any souvenirs such as corals and shells.
  7. Be very careful when diving in caves. Bubbles or any simple contact may destroy delicate life.
  8. Keep diving places clean.
  9. Learn about the underwater life and avoid any destruction.
  10. Urge your buddies to follow these rules too.

The Different Events in Competitive Freediving

In freediving, there are many different ways to test your limits and see how far you can push yourself. There are five main disciplines in competitive freediving: constant weight, dynamic with fins, dynamic without fins, static apnea, and free immersion. In this article, we will go over each of these disciplines and what they entail.

Static Apnea

Static apnea is one of the three freediving disciplines recognized by AIDA International, the world body for freediving. In static apnea, the freediver holds his breath for as long as possible without moving.

The freediver starts the competition by taking a deep breath and then holding it while lying still in the water. The goal is to stay underwater for as long as possible without moving or taking another breath.

The freediver is allowed to touch the bottom of the pool or a platform to keep himself from floating to the surface, but he cannot move his arms or legs. If he does move, even slightly, he is disqualified from the competition.

Static apnea is often used as a training exercise for other freediving disciplines, such as dynamic apnea (swimming underwater) and constant weight (descending without breathing).

Dynamic Apnea

Dynamic apnea is performed in a pool and measures the distance a freediver can swim underwater on a single breath, without using any breathing apparatus. There are two official disciplines within dynamic apnea recognised by AIDA International, these are Dynamic with Fins (DYN) and Dynamic without Fins (DNF).

The world record for dynamic apnea with fins set by Herbert Nitsch ( Austria) in 2007 is 251 metres. Fredros Okeng boasts the unaided world record of 160 metres, swum in Greece in 2000.

Free Immersion

In free immersion, the freediver descends along a line using a pull-and-return technique, and is free to hold their breath for as long as they can. The freediver may use any kind of swimming stroke they like during their descent and ascent.

The depth of the dive is measured from the surface of the water to the bottom of the diver’s feet at the point where they begin their ascent. If the diver touches the line at any point during their descent or ascent, it is considered a safety violation and they will be disqualified.

Constant Weight

Constant Weight (CWT) is an event in Competitive Freediving where the athlete descends to a pre-agreed upon depth, and then returns to the surface without changing their weight (by either kicking off the bottom, or using a line for ascent). The freediver’s task is to equalize pressure throughout their descent so they can stay at depth for as long as possible.

Variable Weight

In Variable Weight (VWT) freedivers descend while holding a weight, which is then released before ascent. The diver starts his descent while holding the line in one hand and a weight in the other hand. The amount of weight used is determined by the freediver and his team and is dependent on many factors such as the depth he plans to reach, his body weight and surface conditions.

The diver can choose to release the weight at any depth and doesn’t have to return to the surface with it. This way divers can use lighter weights and still descend to great depths. descent times are usually shorter than in Constant Weight freediving because of the added momentum from the falling weights.

Training for Competitive Freediving

Physical Training

Even though freediving is more mental than physical, you will still need to be in good shape to be a competitive freediver. You need to be able to hold your breath for long periods of time and have good cardiovascular fitness.

There are several types of training you can do to get in shape for freediving.

Cardiovascular training:
You need to be able to hold your breath for long periods of time, so you will need to have good cardiovascular fitness. The best way to train for this is by swimming laps in a pool. You can also do other cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking, or rowing.

Pulmonary function testing:
You need to have strong lungs in order to freedive, so it is important to get pulmonary function testing done. This test measures how well your lungs are functioning and can help you identify any problems that you may have.

Breath-hold training:
This type of training will help you increase your lung capacity and hold your breath for longer periods of time. There are many different ways that you can do this type of training, so it is important to find a method that works best for you.

Mental Training

Mental training is an important part of freediving, as it can help you to control your breathing and keep calm underwater. relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, can be beneficial. It is also important to visualise yourself freediving successfully and to stay positive.

The Future of Competitive Freediving

Freediving is a sport that is gaining in popularity every year. More and more people are interested in pushing themselves to the limit underwater. Freediving is a great way to explore the underwater world and to see things that most people never get to see. Competitive freediving is a sport that is growing in popularity as well. In this sport, freedivers compete to see who can dive the deepest, hold their breath the longest, and swim the farthest underwater.

The Growth of Competitive Freediving

While freediving has been around for centuries, it has only recently begun to gain popularity as a competitive sport. In the past decade, competitive freediving competitions have been held in locations all over the world, attracting both professional and amateur divers.

The popularity of competitive freediving is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. This growth will be driven by the increasing popularity of freediving as a recreational activity, as well as the increasing number of freediving schools and clubs around the world. competitive freediving will also benefit from the support of major organizations such as AIDA International and CMAS.

The future of competitive freediving looks bright, and it is poised to become one of the most popular sports in the world.

The Challenges of Competitive Freediving

The sport of freediving is one that has seen a lot of growth in recent years. With the popularity of diving holidays and the rise of social media, more and more people are interested in taking up the sport. However, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed before freediving can truly become a mainstream competitive sport.

One of the biggest challenges is safety. Freediving is an inherently dangerous activity and there have been a number of fatal accidents in recent years. While most accidents occur during recreational dives, there have been a few fatalities during competitive events. This has led to calls for more stringent safety measures, including mandatory surface intervals and dive limits.

Another challenge is the lack of standardization. There are no standardized rules or regulations governing freediving competitions. This makes it difficult for divers to know what to expect from an event and makes it hard to compare results. This lack of standardization also makes it difficult to attract sponsors and generate interest from the general public.

Finally, another challenge facing competitive freediving is the sport’s image problem. Freediving is often associated with risk-taking and extreme athletes. This can make it difficult to attract new participants, as many people perceive the sport as being too dangerous. Competitive freediving needs to work on changing this perception if it wants to attract more mainstream attention.

The Dive Flag