A new national freediving record for the UK has been set. Just this week John Moorcroft pushed the dynamic no-fins (DNF) record four meters further at the 2nd Manchester Classic competition, by completing a marathon swim of 167m .(The previous record-holder was Chris Crawshaw prev, who offered a 163m swim at the Great Northern competition back in March 2012.)
DNF has long been one of Moorcroft’s favorite freediving disciplines and the only one that he trains for. When John initially started training in 1999 at a 25m pool, there were no long fins permitted. The then DNF world record was held by Frenchman Andy Le Sauce at 125m, so when John swam an easy 100m he realized he might have a talent for the discipline: “Back then nobody used neck weights or suits, it was purely a speedos and goggles job!” Moorcroft regales.
Soon the world records for DNF got bigger and bigger and John stopped his training for a while, but he ultimately returned to it in 2009 and came close to a national record with a swim of 140m, but unfortunately had a black-out upon surfacing. In 2012 he came back fighting with a 153m swim this time, taking Chris Crawshaw’s previous record of 150m, which at that stage was just days old, but it was a short lived victory as John explains: “My record lasted even less time, a matter of about an hour as Chris came back with a massive 163m.”
Moorcroft credits Crawshaw’s record standing for the past two years as part of his motivation — (despite John’s attempts to beat it, the most recent of which at the Great Northern in Liverpool earlier this year, failing due to a technical error in the surface protocol, a silly mistake he says, not caused by hypoxia.) Looking back on his training in the run up to this year’s Great Northern competition, John openly reflects “I put in a lot of training, something like 70 sessions over 3 months consisting of a combination of pool, hill running, depth and gym. It certainly helped me gain the fitness to be confident in regularly going beyond 150m but with hindsight I think I was over training; recently I’ve not been able to train so much due to work and the distances have if anything been a bit easier. Something to bear in mind.”
John is now setting his sights on the open water/ocean and improving his depths in both constant weight disciplines (with fins CWT, and without CNF).
“None of my freediving achievements would be possible without my regular training buddies in Apneists UK and of course Steve Millard who has coached me and provided great advice and training opportunities not just for me but for everyone up here in the northwest. I would also like to thank Alun George who has always been there to inspire and motivate me. And I am grateful to my two sponsors, Polosub and Carbonio GFT whose products I rely upon with my [other] training.” A successful freediver is definitely reliant on his good buddies and good sponsors.
Photo © Sean Peters, Frogfish Photography