Profiles Series: Mandy-Rae Cruickshank

Mandy – Rae Cruickshank, a 27-year-old Canadian, has become the deepest woman in the world following her 136 -meter no-limits dive in the waters off Grand Cayman Island on Sunday, September 23, 2001. Mandy’s unassuming demeanor belies her incredible potential as a freediver, a potential she is only beginning to realize.

PK: How did you get involved in freediving ?

MRC: It’s a long story ! I met up with a friend of mine, Kirk Krack, who had just moved back to Vancouver from Grand Cayman. He had gotten into freediving there and told me stories of freediving and of Brett LeMaster who he had trained and who then held the Constant Ballast World Record. He wanted to get something started in Vancouver and I figured that because of my synchronized swimming background, I might be able to do this. I set up a clinic at my dive store and things started happening from there. That was back in March 2000. I had no idea what it was going to lead to! Since then I have been addicted. My time spent on scuba has gone down drastically and now it’s all about records and competition. I love having something that I can challenge myself with. Freediving has become my new passion.

PK: How often do you train ?

MRC: When my training cycle peaks going into an event, I am doing something every day. I spend my mornings, before work, in the gym or pool, and on my off days I head out to do open water training.

PK: What is your typical training session like ?

MRC: Gym sessions include lots of cardio training such as apnea stairmaster as well as weight training. Pool sessions focus on cardio and apnea swims as well as more specific training like static practices.

PK: Do you have any special dietary regimen or any advice for our readers on diet ?

MRC: For the last year I have tried to get away from consuming dairy products and caffeine. The dairy wasn’t so hard to give up but caffeine was another story. I had a headache for a week when I quit. I have grown to love herbal teas instead of coffee.

PK: Where do you primarily train ?

MRC: Pretty much all of my training is done in the Vancouver area. I get cold really quickly so diving in the winter is hard, but you grow to love the cold water. I just wish the visibility were a little better. If only Vancouver could have Cayman visibility.

PK: Which is your favorite freediving discipline ?

MRC: It keeps changing ! First it was dynamic apnea, probably because it was so familiar to me from my synchronized swimming days. Now I’m more into depths, especially no-limits. There is however a great sense of accomplishment in Constant Ballast and Free Immersion. I can’t wait to do more training in both of these disciplines. But I’ll have to spend more time in all of the disciplines before I can truly answer this question. As soon as I know which my favorite discipline is I’ll let you know !

PK: Tell me about your most memorable dive !

MRC: That would have to be my world record no-limits dive in Cayman the day before yesterday ! [ September 23, 2001: 136 meters / 446 fsw, AIDA ratification pending]. Right now nothing can top that dive.

PK: What do you do besides freediving ?

MRC: I work full time as the manager of Rowands Reef Scuba Shop in Vancouver. I’m also a PADI Course Director.

PK: All diving all the time ? Nothing else ?

MRC: Well, I play with Cody the Wonder Dog. When I have time, I like to do other outdoor activities such as rollerblading, cycling, and snowboarding.

PK: What is it you like most about your life as a freediver ?

MRC: It’s the seeing how far you can take yourself, see what you can achieve and having fun doing it. I got into the sport to compete and want to set records but would do it even if it were only for me. The Performance Freediving team experience is fantastic : I get to travel, meet amazing new people, compete and set records.

Paul Kotik has been a Staff Writer and Freediving Editor for DeeperBlue.com. He lives in Florida, USA with his family.

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