Profile Series: Yasemin Dalkilic

Your Name: Yasemin Dalkilic

Nationality: Turkey

Age: 22

Why did you become involved in freediving? I was interested in freediving when I was 3-4 years old, at the times that I was learning how to swim. Although the city I live in is about 700 km away from the sea, I would spend 3-4 months every summer diving everyday. I also had a big interest in sports and competed as a swimmer and then as a monofin swimmer in several international competitions. During this time, my interest in freediving was mainly spearfishing, but every now and then if I had a friend to spot me I would just dive and see how deep I could go. Then my interest and my results developed into a competitive level. It was only after I met my trainer Rudi Castineyra that I could improve my results to a world record level. And now after every record I establish, being able to spend almost all my time with freediving, I’m more and more in love with it.

["Yasemin Dalkilic Headshot" right]How often do you train? After a record, until I start training for the next one, I always keep a level of fitness with cardio and weight trainings. But during the actual training period before a record, I train 6 days of the week, 2-5 hours everyday.

What is a typical day for you in your training routine – without divulging any special techniques that you don’t feel comfortable revealing I go through weekly programs, and depending on the day of the week, I either do a pool session in the morning (swimming with monofin, u/w laps, static apnea and combination of all these) with a cardio session (mostly a 1 hour run) in the afternoon or a pool session with a weight workout in the afternoon. The first day of the week is an adaptation workout with some cardio and weight training. Then the second and the fifth day is intensity where I do long workouts in the pool and in the gym. On the third day I do a long cardio session twice a day where I spend the day after that with a mild workout. And on the sixth day we do some specific workout, mostly repetition of underwater laps and static apnea. Rudi designs this training, which has the same concept but with modifications depending on the category we are attempting and depending on my shape. During the last 2 months before the record, my pool sessions last about 2-3,5 hours. Other than these I do some breathing exercises at least once or twice a day, which each one last about half an hour, to keep my muscles in the thorax area very flexible.

Do you have any special dietary needs or preferences that you feel helps your training? Do you have any recommendations regarding this topic? The most important thing in my case is to eat very little fat, and high amount of proteins to be able to recover from the intense workouts that I go through. My preferences is not too specific but I personally have a lot of problems with my red cell counts so it is very important that I take big amount of proteins to help this.

Where do you mainly train – i.e.; pool, open water, etc. For my trainings I use the gym, the pool and the running track. I don’t have the availability to dive except at the record time, so I start diving about 2-4 weeks before the record. We try to do pre-record at least 1-2 months before the record period start, to train in the open water for a week or so.

What is your favorite discipline in the sport of freediving? My favorite has always been the Equipment Assisted Constant Ballast, which was the first record I did and I think it is the most athletic, therefore rewarding category in freediving. But the most enjoyment and fun I have with is the Limited Variable Ballast category.

What is the most memorable dive or attempt that you have had – positive or negative That is probably the record I did in Egypt in the Variable Ballast category to 105 meters. This is the most memorable one because during my training so many things were against us. We had some problems with the set up that caused a delay of about 2 weeks to start the dive training, but most importantly after that during a dive, because of an ear infection I had, I ruptured my ear drum. The record was in real danger, and diving with a ruptured ear drum was very hard because of the bad vertigo and disorientation it caused throughout the dive. So after this, every dive I did was a big test, to see if I was able to keep the problem caused by the rupture under control, and to see if I was going to be strong enough since I lost so many dives and therefore my peak shape. But in the end being able to complete the 105 meter dive successfully was very very rewarding. It was a happiness beyond just setting the world record.

What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in the sport of freediving? My biggest advice to all those that practice this sport is for them not do it alone. It is very important that the freediver has a dive partner to spot him/her throughout the dives or all the other trainings and to get the right knowledge about how to deal with emergency situations like a black out before starting to train.

What do you do outside of the sport? I’m a student of Math in the university, but being more and more occupied with freediving I’m dedicating very little time into that. My biggest interest is listening to jazz music (I’ve been playing the piano and the guitar but at the moment listening is more of what I do). I practice other sports like squash, skiing and Karting whenever I can as I’m also very interested in Formula 1 racing.

Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of DeeperBlue.com. He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.

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