As suggested in my last report, the stage was set for Static Apnea to make or break a number of countries. In the end Venezuela and Sweden’s Men’s team held on to first and second, while the US Women kept the lock on first place.
As always one teams undoing is another’s unexpected windfall as can be seen in the final results.
More of the same
In my last report I focused on the performance itself rather than get into the organizational ups and downs. Once again I will do the same here however I will mention that, as with the days before, there were great delays in the delivery of performance schedules.
Although less dramatic than with Constant Ballast, (there was no boat to catch today) once again many athletes and their coaches were up late into the night waiting to find out what time they would be performing today.
Just like the days before however once the contest was actually underway it was all good.
The Kona YMCA pool was divided into 4 lanes consisting of three zones, warm up, transition and competition, each with its own judge’s tent and large digital readout facing the fair gathering of competitors and locals in the bleachers.
On the other side of the pool was the athlete’s area, a mad collage of bags, towels and bodies crowded into what little shade was available. Warm ups started at 9:30am and the first wave of competitors hit the competition zone at 10:15am.
Every 12-minutes a new wave of food and oxygen deprived competitors were towed into position in front of the tents where judges, timers, and cameramen hid from the unrelenting Hawaiian sun.
Timing is everything
According to standard practice, the event went from shortest to longest announced times. Once done with their performances, competitors quickly became spectators and supporters for their teammates.
For the Men the race for first and second place was between Venezuela, Sweden and the USA. In a dramatic upset, in the very last wave of performances, the US lost their position with a blackout at the 7:00 minute mark knocking Japan up into an unexpected third.
The USA Women however, taking a page from Canada’s book of strategy, stuck to times they were sure to make. As a result they all registered clean performances further advancing their lead over the rest of the field.
Good things come…
For Japan and Canada the final tally was unexpected and exciting. Japan’s hard work and consistent results gave them a solid base, which, as it turned out, was all that was needed to earn both their Men and Women a podium finish.
Canada, for the third year in a row achieved all clean performances and thanks to 2 record breaking performances (deepest and longest in competition) by World record holder Mandy-Rae Cruickshank , the Canadian women secured a incredible third place finish with the widest spread of the entire event- the longest (65m) and shortest (15m) dives.
The real stories
While many lessons were learned, I think it is fair to say that overall the first ever Pacific Cup was successful, entertaining, and for the most part, fun for everyone involved. Of course there are many stories and lots of different perspectives on events, which I will leave for the participants to tell themselves (I expect you’ll see these in the deeper blue forums and elsewhere over the days to come). In the meantime I would like to mention some of the highlights from my perspective:
- Sweden’s Lotta Ericson grabs her loose weight-belt, and, holding it in one hand, retrieves her tag with the other and completes her 52m dive.
- The exceptional efforts of the volunteer safety divers.
- A protest and subsequent reversal of a disqualification for ‘Not removing the mask’ based on a grammatical translation error between the French and English published rules and regulations. (As I understand it, AIDA will be closing this loophole immediately).
- Line violation and ‘Touching the Athlete’ disqualifications took the highly talented and favored Men’s and Women’s French teams out of the running.
- Bill Stromberg of Sweden clearly had the horseshoe market cornered after winning two protests, securing second place for his country.
- Canadian Laurie Kindiak’s 40+m long two and a half minute, 15m dive.
- True camaraderie and goodwill amongst the international Freedive community.
- Britt Peltola’s (USA), rock solid first performance.
- The Russian Women’s disregard for protocol during constant ballast warm up and performance ultimately resulting in a ‘Touching the Athlete’ disqualification.
- ‘Oama’ Sueko Matsuoka and Bob Croft as examples of truth, respect and dedication to our Mother Ocean.
Although the team competition is over, tomorrow’s Dynamic (as an individual event only) and closing ceremonies are sure to be fun and entertaining as well. Therefore I am positive there will be more to report before we leave this island paradise.