Well we knew it would all hinge on the static performances and we weren’t let down. Friday was a rest day but athletes just couldn’t seem to stay out of the water. Lotta Ericsson was in the pool at 6am to do 6.50 hold and new world record holder Carlos Coste went to explore the wreck of the Zenobia and take footage which he showed to a packed house last night.
Yours truly managed to get in the sea for the first time since last year and then spent the rest of the day fighting with Excel in preparation for the mammoth static day. Sam Kirby paid a beer money ransom to the scubies and they released Deepest Bear into the pool. From the top floor of the hotel. However most people took it easy after a heavy session at the bar the previous night with Kaz, the king of the kareoke machine…
You may not think that the static competition gets interesting until the long holds at the end, however this year we were in for a real treat. Herbert Nitsch had to fly in the afternoon back to work and so was first in the water. Next up was Lotta, who had chosen to go early as she does better holds in the morning.
Both athletes had suffered packing black outs in training this week and so were careful in their preparation. Herbert did a strong 7.02 after having to fight contractions since about four and a half minutes and then Lotta pulled it out the bag to give us our third world record of the competition with an awesome 6.31! She looked so comfortable and came up fresh as a daisy. Afterwards I chatted to her and she said it felt great ‘I knew I had 7 minutes in me, it was so easy, but I came up anyway’. Perhaps she was helped by the fact that she was wearing Martin Stepanek’s wetsuit as she hadn’t brought a 5mm of her own…
As the day progressed the heat became almost unbearable for some of the competitors. Sam Kirby and Anne-Marie Kitchen Wheeler were two of the British athletes who came up clean at 3.51 and 3.54 respectively but were hoping for at least 45 seconds more, and five athletes came up before their inscribed time. These included Fred Buyle and Timo Kinnunen which cost them 18.6 and 11.4 points in penalties.
There were a fair few loss of motor controls, 14 in all but only one black out. Two of the LMCs were from Dave King and Mark Harris who were both going for the UK static record. They had easily done it in training but the heat and illness took their toll. Other high profile LMCs came from Joe Tufts under the glare of the cameras and Tanya Streeter, and Ant Williams who told me after that he had fallen asleep after five minutes and should have woken himself up!
Despite these disappointments there were plenty of National Records that fell. Daniel Wieser smashed the Swiss static record by 20 seconds with a hold of 6.10 ( a 30th birthday present to himself) and then his tem mate, who used to have the record, Peter Colat, tried to take it back but had a LMC at 6.13. Another Swiss record fell to Joanna Massacand with a pb of 5.47 and Ryuzo Shinomiya took the Japanese record with 7.07 and Walter Steyn took the Australian record with 6.31.
At the end of the comp the results were as follows:
Women’s individual competition
- 1st Place Lotta Ericson Sweden 127.2 points
- 2nd Place Annabel Briseno USA 119.6 points
- 3rd Place Megumi Matsumoto Japan 113 points
Men’s individual competition
- 1st place Martin Stepanek Czech Republic 182.8 points
- 2nd Place Carlos Coste Venezuela 179.6 points
- 3rd Place Herbert Nitsch Austria 163.4 points
Womens’ team competition
- 1st Place Jesscia Wilson/ Annabel Briseno/ Megumi Matsumoto 342 points
- 2nd Place Joanna Massacand/ Aurore Asso/ Birgitte Banegas 313.6 points
- 3rd Place Marja Apunen/ Johanna Nordblad/ Laura Tuominen 257.8 points
Men’s team competition
- 1st Place Herbert Nitsch/ Martin Stepanek/ Bill Stromberg 488.2 points
- 2nd Place Carlos Coste/ Fred Buyle/ Deron Verbeck 352.2 points
- 3rd Place Antero Joki/ Jyri Vehmaskoski/ Antti Makela 344.8 points
Dynamic Women competition
- 1st Place Johanna Nordblad Finland 158 metres
- 2nd Place Natalia Molchanova Russia 132 metres
- 3rd Place Megumi Matsumoto Japan 120 metres
Dynamic Men competition
- 1st Place Herbert Nitsch Austria 173 metres
- 2nd Place Ant Williams New Zealand 169 metres
- 3rd Place David King UK 156 metres
Dynamic national records
- Junko Kitahama Japan Dynamic No Fins 73 metres
- Patricia Werneck Ribas Brazil DNF 62 metres
- Jessica Silson USA DNF 57 metres
- Ant Williams NZ Dynamic With Fins 173 metres
- David King UK DWF 156 metres
- Walter Steyn Australia DWF 150 metres
- Walter Steyn Australia DNF 82 metres
- Wolfram Neugebauer Germany DNF 112 metres
- Peter Colat Switzerland DNF 102 metres
- Costas Kyricou Cyprus DWF 90 metres
Top UK Women
- 1st Place Suzanne Pugh 82.6 points
- 2nd Place Sam Kirby 82.6 points
- 3rd Place Anne-Marie Kitchen-Wheeler 77.2 points
Top UK Men
- 1st Place Dave Harries 115.2 points
- 2nd Place Dave Morgan 93 points
- 3rd Place Simon Reid 80 points
The DeeperBlue.net Photo Quiz!
Back at DeeperBlue.net Towers, my boss has informed me that whilst he has received lots of entries to the competition, there are very few that are correct… As a result we are extending the competition deadline by another week. So enter now for the chance to win a place on a performance freediving course with Kirk Krack, a 50 euro gift certificate at the DeeperBlue.net shop and many more exciting prizes!
The Saturday night party and presentation was a great chance to show freedivers at their best and then not so best! Martin was ‘happier’ but still not entirely happy after having the best constant dive of his life but then failing to equalise for the first time ever. He showed however his true spirit after winning two titanium stingers in the individual and team championships, by giving one to the new Constant Weight World Record holder, Carlos Coste.
After a buffet by the pool where the Finnish girls jumped in and Timo swapped his clothes with one of the girls, we adjourned to the bar and then the disco… This was a chance to see simultaneously Carlos and his girlfriend elegantly salsa across the floor whilst the Dutch and Swedish Contingent raved as if Wolfram (Wolle XDP) was on the decks. I left early to catch my flight back to the UK and now sit, just a few hours later back home looking back on another hugely successful competition.
This year the judging system in particular was a vast improvement on last year. Decisions were quick and fair and complaints were almost non existent. Some athletes such as the French and Monagasque Guillame, Loic, Francois, Sophie and Pierre Frolla were sorely missed as was Kirk and Mandy Rae, but there were still wonderful friends to catch up with and the chance to make new ones.
The weather was superb, the dive boat excellent and the warmth and friendliness of the athletes second to none. People took each other’s records with their blessing and the champions always had time for those who wanted to meet them.
Highlights for me were seeing three world records fall and catching Herbert running down a corridor at 6am on the morning of his record attempt, opening a door and yelling in ‘More lube! We need more lube Bill!’
It’s now time to sit back, catch our breath and look forward to the World Championships in Vancouver!