Everything that you need to know about MDR (Mammalian Dive Reflex) in Freediving

First of all the term, Mammalian Dive Reflex is a little bit misleading term since not only mammals have it. So, let’s call it Dive Reflex or Dive Response or just DR 😉

Doesn’t matter, you are complete beginners or you already Freediving Instructor, Dive Reflex is your best friend!

A bit of history. Many years ago one French doctor made a statement that man could not dive deeper than 50 meters because the thoracic cavity is going to be crushed (some sources say 30-40 meters). Why? Because every 10 meters pressure increasing with 1 atm and when you are 50 meters surrounding pressure already 6 atm. And it is huge. But back to those time, no one was even trying to do it (ok, there a couple of exceptions). But in 1961 Enzo Maiorca dived to this depth and survive! Why? Because of the blood shift! And blood shift is a part of DR!

DCIM102GOPROGOPR1302.JPGDR is activated when our face is cooled (by cold water for example) or when we hold our breath. When we do both – even better!

This reflex helps us to hold our breath longer and dive deeper! How? By:

  1. Apnea
  2. Bradycardia
  3. Peripheral vasoconstriction and blood shift
  4. Spleen contraction

1. DR is responsible for spontaneous activation of Apnea. If we place infant underwater (don’t ask me why) their windpipe would spontaneously close (by vocal cords) and this prevents water from entering the lungs. This reflex quite strong upon 6 months and then start to disappear. My assumption – around this age baby start learning how to crawl and probably decide that Dive Reflex is not that important for them! Does it happen because of our genetic memories of our aquatic past or because nine months before birth our natural environment is liquid? Who knows 😉

2. DR causing bradycardia – slowing your heart rate (HR). Quite common is 10-30 % DCIM102GOPROGOPR0029.JPGreduction of HR for Freedivers (up to 50% or more in highly trained athletes). There are stories with even more impressive results, but let’s skip them now. Sounds impressive? How about this – laboratory rats have 80% decreases in HR while submerged underwater!!

Bradycardia is usually followed by tachycardia (increase in HR) after breath hold is over.

Why bradycardia is important for Freediver? Well, it is a protective mechanism of our body, it decreases O2 consumption, which means we can hold our breath hold longer without risk of losing the conscious! It also compensates the result of peripheral vasoconstriction effect (which cause increased blood pressure)

3. Next benefit of DR is a peripheral vasoconstriction and blood shift

Back to 1974 study showed that during dives to 40-60 meters, the amount of blood in the thorax (chest cavity) increased more than twice! And this reflex was called (pretty obviously) blood shift.

DCIM102GOPROG0053175.JPGPeripheral vasoconstriction (PV) is a narrowing of the blood vessels to reduce blood flow to non-vital organs (such as skin or inactive muscles, for example) ensuring that oxygen-sensitive organs like the brain or heart receive enough O2 for normal function. In another word PV is a redistribution of blood to vital organs from peripheral organs. PV also induces anaerobic metabolism, with an increase in lactic acid as a by-product. Interesting that the release of lactic acid into the bloodstream doesn’t occur (or at least significantly reduced) until Freediver resurface (at least this is what experiments on laboratory rats show).

For all of the above, you can say that blood shift (BS) happens (blood moves from non-vital organs to vital organs) when PV happens, but quite common Freedivers are using the term BS when describing the movement of the blood to the chest cavity to protect it from increasing pressure while diving deep.

Due to PV certain amount of blood pushed to the lungs, the capillaries in the lungs receive a greater blood flow and increase in size, compensating for space lost in the lungs due to increasing of ambient pressure. The lungs become filled up with the blood, which is reabsorbed when Freediver ascending.

IMPORTANT! Blood shift not pushing the blood into alveoli! It pushes it into capillaries around alveoli!

Why PV is very important for Freedivers? Well, it helps to move O2 from organs which can survive longer without it, to organs which are in constant demand of O2. So, it helps us to hold our breath longer and dive deeper (by moving blood to the chest cavity).

4. And the last but not least benefit of DR is the spleen contraction. Spleen in the human body has two main functions – mechanical filtration of red blood cells (RBC) and as a part of the immune system. We are interested in the first function. About 240 ml of RBC’s can be held in the spleen and released when needed (due to hypoxia for example). When the contraction of the spleen happens oxygen-rich RBC’s gradually start their journey to circulatory system increasing O2 carry capacity of our blood (and helping us to hold our breath longer).

Interesting that spleen not recovering fast, even after an hour it is only partially recovered (however there are studies which show that spleen can be fully recovered in size in less than 20 minutes).

5. This is not a benefit, but still part of DR. Immersion diuresis. Yes, this is an explanation DCIM102GOPROG0022614.JPGwhy while Freediving you want to pee much often! As you know part of DR is PV and it causes increased blood flow to the torso area and increased blood pressure as a result. Our body detects it and releases a specific hormone responsible for liquid regulations, which increase urine production. Don’t be embarrassed because of it! But make sure that this reflex doesn’t make you dyhadrated (drink enough before and after Freediving session).

6. Another side effect of DR is faster muscles fatigue. And again you can blame PV. When PV happens and blood moves away from your muscles, they start to work in an anaerobic way and produce more lactic. And even after you finish apnea, the effect does not disappear quickly (depends how long and intense your apnea was). Do you need proof? Try to do DYN bi fins 100 meters and 100 meters surface swim (with the same fins) and compare how do you feel.

 

If you have any question about Freediving, let me know in comments below!

 

 

 

 

Learn how to hold your breath longer!

What is the best way to learn how to hold your breath? Of course, it is signing up for Freediving course 😉 But if you couldn’t do it at this moment (or did it and forgot), here is a small review about it!

If you haven’t read my previous post about breathing in general – check it out here

So, any breath hold has 3 parts – preparation, breath hold itself and proper recovery after it.

So, the first part is relaxation breathing.

We can say there are two main types of relaxation breathing

morning 2First one, let’s call it “old school” relaxation breathing is when you are trying to slow down breathing rate by extending your inhale and especially exhale part. There is even recommendation – exhale twice longer than inhale (not sure why twice). Let’s be honest – it is a mild version of hyperventilation (if you extend your exhale over a period of time, you removing extra CO2 from your body). I think Goran Ccolak said in his interview to Freediving Café, that every breathing, which differs from tidal breathing is hyperventilation. The question is how big ;-).

Yes, you are going to feel that you need to breathe less and less. But if you remember, your respiration rate regulated by the amount of CO2, reduction of CO2 will cause a reduction in the breathing rate. But do you want to reduce your CO2 level? Just quick reminder – if your CO2 level is low then O2 delivery going to be not that effective (Bohr effect).

You also creating some resistance for your respiratory muscles, right? And it potentially won’t allow you to completely relax (this is my opinion).

The second type of relaxation breathing is a relatively new way of warm up. Instead of bali-001extending the duration of your exhale, do tidal breathing and then just 1-2 big breath in (with passive exhale) before actual breath hold. Same breathing what you have before you fall asleep. Still better to use diaphragm breathing for it though (it means that you still want to learn and practice it). Let’s say for two minutes you are doing tidal breathing. You relax your muscles and mind. Your heart rate will go down since you are more and more relaxed. And your CO2 level not going to be high as well. But at the same time, it is not going to be below the normal level for this particular level of activity.

I remember first time read about it on William Trubridge FB page (hope I am not wrong here) and then Alexey Molchanov said the same on a Deep Week in Amed, about his breathing routine before a dive.

And lastly, another Freediving champ Adam Stern was talking about this type of Breathing on one of his last video!

Here at Crystal Freedivng we are going into more details of relaxation breathing on PADI Advanced Freediver course and PADI Master Freediver course.

Now, let’s talk about breath hold itself.

Questions are – what to do while you are holding your breath and what happens in your body?

static table_MomentThe answer is – try to become as much relaxing as possible. Easy to say, hard to do. What I recommend for my beginner students is to “scan” their body during breath hold and check if their muscles relax or not.

Face muscles (especially around eyes and jaw), neck, shoulders, arms, belly area, hips, ankles. And then do it again and again. Sooner or later you can relax without such “scanning”, but in the beginning, it is VERY useful!

If you are a beginner, not tolerance for a high level of CO2 or low level O2 important. It would be later. Now, you need to learn one of the most important parts of Freediving – how to relax!

So, you finished your relaxation breathing, made a big breath in and start holding. You managed your relaxation and completely relaxed. But all functions of the body are still working. So, you are still producing energy and as a byproduct, producing CO2. At some point, the CO2 level reaches a certain level and your respiratory center (RC) will send your muscles to remove this CO2 from your body. And you have the first contraction (movement of your respiratory muscles).

And what happens at this moment with your O2 level? It is going low for sure, but you sta signs_Momentstill have plenty of O2. Enough for every body’s cells. And you know that and this is why you are keep holding.

Another contraction, a little bit stronger. But you are a Freediver and RC not dictated you what to do anymore. So, you are keeping holding. RC disagrees with you and sending you another command to breathe. Another contraction. And another. And they become a bit tougher.

Ok, you decide to finally follow this command and finish your breath hold! How? By start doing recovery breathing!

Ok, last part, recovery breathing. Why do it? During your breath hold (static, dynamic or depth) you use some O2. Longer you hold your breath, more O2 you use. Less O2 you have, higher chance of LMC/BO/SWB.

But as you remember, you start feeling discomfort, not because of low O2, but because of high CO2. So, when you stop holding your breath, what is your main goal – reduce the level of CO2 or increase O2?

The second option is correct. During your recovery, you don’t care about the level of discomfort (level of CO2), you care about not to lose your conscious!

First, exhale doesn’t have to be full (passive exhale more than enough) followed by full quick inhale. And you repeat it 3-6 times (or longer if you need it). Some Freedivers also do a “hook” breath – it is when after full and quick inhale, you keep this air for a second before exhaling.

And don’t forget while you are doing recovery breathing it is much safer if you have a support – float, side of the pool or anything else.

Sergei Episode 1 720HD_MomentAnother important rule – do recovery breathe every single time, not only when it was “hard” dive. Even after very easy dive you need to do it – it will help you to create a very useful habit and put it on a subconscious level!

Stay safe!

Thank you for reading! If you have Freediving friends, who might find this article helpful – feel free to share! And if you have any question about Freediving – please let me know in comments below!

Breathing for Freediving (part 1)

Let’s start with understanding why we (as humans) breathing. Yes, we all know that we need O2 (oxygen) for our life and this is one of the main functions of our respiratory system – bring O2 to our tissues.

But do you know that our breathing rate is mainly regulated by the amount of CO2 (partial pressure of CO2) in the blood, not O2. We even have a specific part of our brain responsible for this regulation. It has a very difficult name – Medulla Oblongata. This “thing” is responsible for such automatic functions as breathing, heart and blood vessels function, swallowing, digestion.

Why is it important to know, especially for beginner Freedivers?

Well, we all know that some of our tissues couldn’t operate without O2 even a short amount of time. For example – our brain. And when beginners hold their breath and feel the desire to breathe, they start to be nervous because they are thinking the level of O2 critically low! And it is becoming dangerous!

And – if not, why they feel uncomfortable?

Let’s say you are holding your breath for a minute.

DCIM101GOPROGOPR7790.JPGEven if you are relaxed as much as possible, you still produce some energy. And as a result, produce some CO2. And when your CO2 reaches a certain level you want to breathe (actually you want to remove excess CO2 level). In Freediving quite often we use the term “urge to breathe”. So, how are going to bring new air to your lungs? What is the process looks like?

Our main respiratory muscle is our diaphragm. It is a big muscle between your chest (thoracic) cavity and abdominal cavity. When you need to inhale – your diaphragm going down (contraction of the diaphragm), chest volume increase and the air suck in. Reverse process happens when you exhale – you relax your diaphragm and it is coming to its normal position, pushing the air out of your lungs. Intercostal muscles (muscles between your ribs) involved as well, helping you make a bigger inhale or exhale.

And now let’s come back to urge to breath. When you are holding your breath and have diaphragm2an urge to breathe – it is simple contractions of your respiratory muscles (diaphragm for example), which are trying to remove CO2 from your body.

As a beginner, you want to stop holding your breath after you have a contraction, or a few seconds later (5-15 is a good start). But with the practice, you can hold your contractions much longer. And let me remind you, that contractions are not connected with the level of O2, it is a simple response of your respiratory system for a high level of CO2. So, you are safe when you have them, don’t be scared.

But what exactly happens with the air, when it comes to our lungs? You inhale fresh air lungs(only 21% is O2, 78,96% N and 0.04 is CO2) and it starts its journey into your circulatory system! There is a natural dead space (no one dies, there is just no gas exchange) on its way (nose/mouth + trachea + bronchi + bronchial), so when air reach your alveoli, it has less O2 than you when you inhale.

Your alveoli are tiny compartments where gas exchange happens between your lungs and your blood (capillaries). The wall of alveoli is thin enough for gas (gas traveling both directions, from alveoli to blood vessels and back) and not thin enough for liquid (this is why blood normally couldn’t penetrate into your respiratory system).

So, from alveoli, O2 moves into your blood, where most of it binds with the hemoglobin and use it as a taxi to get to different tissues (your muscles for example) through arteries.

alvioliAnd within your tissues, cells use O2 for producing energy and also creating CO2 as a byproduct (as well as water). After CO2 produced, it goes to your blood (partially connected with hemoglobin, but mostly dissolved into the plasma – bicarbonate) and then going through veins to your lungs. Then again, through gas exchange, CO2 penetrates to your alveoli, going all the way up to your mouth and then you remove it through exhaling! This how we are breathing!

Pretty simple, right?

A few words about the importance of CO2 in our body.

If CO2 is just a byproduct of producing energy and our “urge to breath” depends on it, might be we need to remove it from our system before a breath hold activity? And then can stay underwater longer?

Probably same thought had freediving pioneers when they were doing hyperventilation (which is a big no-no nowadays). Basically, hyperventilation (or over breathing) is the process when you ventilate your lungs too fast.

What happens when you do hyperventilation – you reduce the level of CO2 in your body,DCIM101GOPROG0048084.JPG which cause increasing pH of your blood (blood become more alkaline – respiratory alkalosis) and it triggers Bohr effect – now a connection between hemoglobin and O2 becomes stronger and exchange between capillaries and tissues becomes harder. In simple words – even if enough O2 present in the blood, it is much harder to deliver it to tissues. Since the human brain is very sensitive to the lack of O2, as a result of hyperventilation we have symptoms – dizziness, tingling in the lips, hands or feet, headache, weakness. Or in a worst case scenario – unconsciousness (our brain simple protect us from further depleting of O2).

So, CO2 playing an important part in keeping pH of our blood constant (7.34-7.45), so-called acid-base homeostasis

 

Thank you for reading! hope you found some useful information here 😉

If you are the first time on our website, consider following us, we are trying to bring useful information about Freediving here!

If you have any question, feel free to ask in comments below!

PADI Freediving Key Standards

There are 4 types of certificates which you can get doing freediving courses with PADI:

  1. Basic Freediver, which is advisable for students under 15 years old. In the meantime, the youngest age for this course is 12 years. Minimum static breath hold is 90 seconds, Dynamic apnea (horizontal) at least 25 meters. Only Confined water sessions are foreseen for this level with maximum depth 6meters.
  2. Freediver, which could be unofficially called 1st level. The minimum age for students is 15, but till 18 years depth requirements are not so high. Or better to say – not so deep 🙂 So in frames of this course, we have minimum 1 confined session and 2 open water sessions. You will become a certified Freediver as soon as you: can hold your breath up to 90 seconds, can swim underwater in fins at least 25meters (horizontal) and reach minimum 10 meters depth in constant weight (simply saying diving in bifins). Maximum depth for Freediver is 16 meters constant weight. There are certain requirements for rescue skills at this level, which can easily be explained – as PADI Freediver you can train on your own with certified freediver buddy. Which means both of you should be aware of safety and how to provide some rescue in case of shallow water blackout or LMC.20180325_083650
  3. Advanced Freediver, which could be considered as 2nd level, consists of at least 1 confined water session and 2 open water sessions. Minimum static breath hold should be 2 minutes and 30 seconds, dynamic apnea in fins at least 50 meters and constant weight dive – minimum 20 meters.fisheye Maximum depth for this level is 24m. It also should be mentioned that to apply for Advanced Freediver you must get EFR first. That is also simply explained with the possible necessity to provide first aid to your buddy. And of course more advanced rescue skills should be demonstrated at this course.
  4. And finally almost professional – Master Freediver. Let’s say that is the last level “for fun”. Next step would be Instructor. So to become Master (of Freedivers Power). Minimum depth to follow the path of Freediver Jedi is 27 meters. In frames of this course, your static breath hold should be at least 3min 30sec and dynamic in fins at least 70 meters. Besides, you will start learning mouthfill, no fins diving and few other cool things as managing the rope and buoy. After completing this course you cannot teach freediving but you can assist to the instructor during the courses.

Hope it’s a bit more clear now with PADI requirements for each level of freediving course.

Soon I will prepare this article in the Russian language 🙂

 

How to hold your breath

The basic skill which you learn on your first Freediving course is, of course, how to hold your breath! This Freediving discipline requires a minimum of Freediving equipment!!

A lot of my students, when I ask them, how long they can do it, answering – 30-40 seconds. And then in 10 minutes, they can hold for 1.5-2 minutes! Magic? Not really 😉 Simply understanding how to do it correctly, what happens in the organism during static breath hold – helps that much!

Watch how our student does it for the first time! Interesting to try? Come to Koh Tao (Thailand) and we going to be more than happy do Freediving course with you!

Equalization for Freediving

Hey guys!

Common question: If I am planning to do Freediving course soon, do I need to somehow prepare for it?

Answer – YES

😉

And one of the thing which you can learn even before you sign up for your first Freediving course is how to equalize your ears!

It will rise chances that you will pass this course without any problem

How to learn it? Watch the tutorial on my YouTube channel (and a few videos how to sorted out equalization problem, if you have them)

 

5 Rules for snorkelers

“Rules for snorkelers? I thought there are no rules!”

AdventuresOk, snorkeling is a natural activity for us humans (especially after we invented a mask) and everyone can do it without any education.

But as usual, if you want to do something safer – you should learn how.

And let me help you with that by sharing five safety rules for snorkelers!

Below is a short version, full version, as usual on my YouTube channel – Crystal Freediving 😉

Nose clip for Freediving

20180130_202253

Hey guys!

As we all know Freediving requires less equipment than lets say scuba diving. But still need some. In the beginning of your Freediving journey simple set as Freediving mask, snorkel, and pair of fins more than enough.

But if you really want to bring it to the next level, few extra pieces of equipment will help you with that.

As an example – nose clip. Here is a short version of my review (full version, as usual on my YouTube channel – Crystal Freediving)

Australian National Record holder Amber Bourke!

We would like to introduce our today’s guest Amber Bourke, ex-World Champion, and multi-time Australian National record holder!

amber6Amber, thank you for finding time to reply some of our questions.

1. Amber, I know that you were a professional synchronized swimmer and even represent Australia at FINA World Championship in 2007. How you ended up in Freediving?

I actually injured my hip which kind or ended my synchro days. I tried out for the 2008 Olympics but missed out on a spot on the team and after that decided that it was time to move on.

2. You achieved a lot both in swimming and now in Freediving. Can you compare training approach in both sports?

Training is actually very similar. I definitely trained much longer hours as a amber8synchronized swimmer but with freediving I believe it’s more about quality over quantity.

3. Our huge congratulations on your great performance this year in CNF. Are you concentrating mainly on this discipline in your depth training?

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for CNF. I’m not sure why because breaststroke has always been my worst stroke. I think at the moment though I’m mostly focusing on it because my equalization is terrible and I haven’t been able to equalize deep enough to do decent CWT or FIM dives.

4. In 2015 you did 48 meters, 2016 – 58, 2017 – 68 (which is the new National Record!!!). Looks like you like number “8”. So, what to expect from you in 2018? 78 meters? 

amber2I actually didn’t realize that until you pointed it out. I really have to work on being less predictable! I think a lot of us freedivers subconsciously steer towards certain numbers. I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person but maybe I am! The number 8 just sounds so much better than 7 or 9…

5. What is a typical daily training routine for you? What kind of short/long term goals do you have now?

Up until this year, I’ve been working full time around training so I usually train in the pool 3-4 times after work during the week and then try to squeeze maybe some gym or yoga in during the week too. Then it is a matter of arriving at a destination with enough time before the competition to let your body adapt to the pressure and work on equalization. This year I took a gap year from work to travel and focus on freediving so that makes things a lot easier.

6. You also doing very well in a pool disciplines, actually you are 2017 Pool National Female Champion! So, what do you like to train more, pool or depth?

If it’s a choice between being in the ocean or being in a swimming pool every day I willamber5 always choose the ocean. However, I do enjoy training in the pool and sometimes it’s just more practical. In Brisbane where I live we don’t have easy access to depth like a lot of freedivers.

7. I saw a video on the YouTube (I think it is 2014), where you do DNF with no packing. Are you changed your approach since then or you still don’t pack?

I still don’t pack. Maybe one day I will but I always wanted to see how far I could get without packing and show new freedivers that there is a lot more you can learn to improve your freediving before you start packing.

8. Last year we all saw your amazing photo session with Ben Von Wong. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

amber7The Von Wong shoot was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had in freediving. We were in these underwater caverns with sharks and I was wearing this crazy dress that was almost impossible to swim in. On top that the water wasn’t that warm and I was relying on a scuba diver for air. It was not easy but I’ve always enjoyed a challenge. I’d really like to participate in more of these projects in the future.

9. Freediving becoming more popular nowadays. What is your opinion about freediving development in the future?

I hope it becomes as popular if not more popular than scuba diving. The more people who freedive the easier it will be to find people to freedive with! I also hope that as freediving becomes more popular people will become more aware of the risks involved with holding your breath underwater and what to do in case of a hypoxic or shallow water blackout.

10. And at the end, what advice can you give to someone who just finished their first freediving course?

Find people to train with. The main reason I’ve stayed in the sport for so long is that I amber4have a great group of people back home that I train with and that keeps me looking forward to training each week.

Freediving German National record holder Timothy Oehmigen

Hey Timothy!

Our congratulations for you to become Freediving National Record holder for Germany in CWT on VB-2107! Thank you for finding some time to answer our questions and sharing your love for Freediving!

 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you was born and grew up, at what age you started swimming, what hobby you had before start freediving)tim3

I am half German, half American. I grew up in Germany (south west part) close to Stuttgart, studied in Konstanz at Germany’s biggest and deepest lake (256m) and learned freediving there.  Swimming I started early at around 5-6 years. I always liked to be in the water, although I didn’t join any swimming club or so. During school and university, my biggest hobby was not sport related but more music related. I was fascinated by going to concerts and music festivals. I also have been working until today in the concert business as a booking manager for part time.

 

2. Do you remember when and how you tried Freediving for the first time? And why did you like it?

tim4I joined a beginner course in the lake of Konstanz. I could hold my breath 3 minutes and go to 20m and I realized fast how challenging this sport is, which I liked. I had lots of trouble with equalization though and I was not able to dive head first. As soon as I learned how to Frenzel, things got more serious. I had my first competition also in the lake and soon went for more and more competitions.

 

3. How did you come up with the idea to become a Freediving instructor? How did you manage to arrange your time between teaching and competing on such a high level?tim7

It was basically important for me to become an instructor to learn more about teaching. I found it interesting and I hoped to gain life experience from teaching and responsibility you have as an instructor in the water. At the same time, I realized that through teaching you can also learn a lot since you start reading more about freediving (due to students questions which you fail to answer) and on the other hand building your own teaching style. Of course, teaching and competing at the same time is hard, but it can be also a nice balance. After a few days of teaching, you really like to go deep again. And motivation is so important for deep diving. My best pre training + competition was actually my first national record with 91m free immersion. And exactly during that period, I had lots of courses. I used the day offs for training and each and every dive was nice, clean and a relaxed dive. 80m, 82m, 84m, 86m, 88m and then finally 91m.

 

4. Once again congratulations with NR for Germany (CWT 93 meters)! Are you looking forward to reaching magic 100 meters mark any soon? 😉 If yes, what it will mean for you?

tim2Of course, 100m is a nice number, but for me, it is also more important to be good in the other disciplines and do nice dives. If I can reach a 100m one time just by having a good run, it will not be worth it. I would like to hit a 100m and claim that I can do it again. But for this, my body and my mind need to be ready enough. At the moment it is not and that is important to know to remain on a healthy road towards success.

 

5. On VB-2017 you made an attempt of 67 CNF. What happened during this dive? Why did you decide to make an early turn? Are you looking for becoming NR in this discipline as well in the future?

I had argued with board colleagues from AIDA Germany which did not let me dive in peace. At the board, there is somebody who really tries to work against me and such battles are not a good place for a freedivers mind. But yes, I plan to dive deeper in CNF. I personally think that there I have great potentials since hypoxia is no topic for me and my technique looks okay. Actually, I just broke the NR with 67m a few days ago in a competition in Panglao, Philippines.

 

6. Coming back to training, are you splitting equally your time between different disciplines? Any pool or strength training?

I like to switch between the disciplines. All disciplines have their pros and cons. FIM is tim6relaxed and easy to equalize deep. Descend is the easiest for me. On the other hand, you need good apnea and a strong mind since you are deep and you only have the rope to get up. CWT is fast, you enjoy the speed and the power behind the monofin. On the other side, you need a good technique to not become lactic and to be able to keep the relaxation which is needed for deep equalization. CNF is physically hard and the detail is most important. On the other hand, it is not so deep and the numbers seem to be more double for the mind.

If I am in the water for training, I try to avoid work out. Nevertheless, I see work out also as an important part to remain strong. Especially when you are already getting skinny you can’t effort to lose the power you need for freediving. If I have a few days or weeks off from freediving, I like to train in the gym or at home to build up strength. Pool training is nice for technique and mental training.

 

7. I saw that you started crowd funding campaign to go to Freediving World Championship 2017. Wish you to reach this goal and hope our readers decide to support you! Can you say a couple of words why this is so important for you? (interview was taken a month ago, so Tim already manages to get enough money to go!!!)

tim5That is easy: Because it is very expensive to go there this year, especially when you are coming from Europe and also if you already attended Vertical Blue in that year. I do not have the money to go or if I would need to work and have no time for training. The announcement that the World Championship will take place in Roatan came quite late this time. So I decided to register for Vertical Blue and see if I can finance  Roatan somehow. I saw that other athlete already successfully funded themselves with crowd funding. On one hand I know it might not be so nice to ask for money, but on the other hand, I believe that those who support me really like to do that. I always feel happy to give support if I can and I want.

 

8. Did freediving become more popular in Germany since you have started practicing it?

I don’t know. I worked for a bit more than a year at the board at AIDA Germany, but the problem is that it is led mainly by bureaucrats who have no idea about freediving. Germany is, for example, the only country who still has lake records and it is also recognizing No Limit records. Media will not distinguish between a 100m No Limit and a 100m Constant Weight or a 130m DNF World Record (in the lake) or a real world record of 244m. What Germany needs is stories and a nice representation of the sport. Many people still believe that it is an extreme sport for adrenaline freaks. Some people take the advantage and sell themselves as such ones and simply misrepresent the sport. But there are also others who are invited into talk shows and give very nice examples for how nice freediving can be. I hope that especially competitive freediving can be more established.

 

9. Tell us about your personal Freediving plans and how you see freediving in the future in general?

I plan to take part in Honduras at the AIDA World Championship. I hope I can hit new tim1PBs there and I am also looking forward to this competition in general. Freediving becomes more and more popular for sure. With this, the freediving world faces a difficult task, which is making/keeping competitions safe and professional. At the last two World Championships of AIDA, there were huge and embarrassing mistakes happening, which in my personal opinion also happened due to arrogance by the judges and not listening to the athletes. I hope that those mistakes will not happen again and that the administration at AIDA will start working properly again.