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)
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?
I 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?
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?
Of 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 relaxed 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!!!)
That 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 PBs 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.