Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Simon Fraser University – Advanced Freediving Project

“For it’s second year in a row, the Advanced Freediving project commenced at Simon Fraser University (SFU) with Performance Freediving and members of Team Canada from the Canadian Association of Freediving and Apnea (CAFA).

Vancouver, Canada is the site for this project from January 16th to April 3rd with the protected waters of Vancouver’s Howe Sound providing excellent training conditions while SFU’s Aerospace Testing lab offers one of the worlds most advanced physiology testing departments.

This twelve-week project will chart the psychophysiological changes of students as they develop the necessary skills, attitudes and techniques to become a safe, knowledgeable and proficient recreational and competitive freediver.

For twelve weeks, participants meet Wednesday nights for a one-hour classroom session followed by two-hours in the pool with midweek dry exercises and cardio training throughout. Weeks seven through twelve will have participants engaging in weekend open water training sessions to practice the disciplines of free immersion and constant ballast.

Most participants have minimal to no experience with freediving and this year the project has 24 people with a few who have never touched a mask, snorkel or fins before. At the end all participants will be welcomed to join two competitions hosted by CAFA and the local club Freedive Vancouver.

Kirk Krack of Performance Freediving leads the training of this project along with Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Tom Lightfoot. Kirk is a professional freediving trainer / educator and is also coach of Team Canada. Mandy-Rae is a Performance Freediving instructor who also holds the women’s AIDA world record in no-limits at 136m as well as a Team Canada member. Tom Lightfoot also works with Performance Freediving in Vancouver, holds several Canadian freediving records and competes with Team Canada.

This years study is very exciting based on the large enrollment into the project along with the research and data collection for the Extreme Physiology Project (EEP) that’ll be conducted by SFU researchers Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Dr. Andrew Blaber and research assistant Valerie Walker of the School of Kinesiology.

Testing will involve pulmonary functioning and cardiovascular measurements, blood pressure and cerebral doppler monitoring along with maximal oxygen uptake and psychological sports testing. Participants will be measured weeks one and twelve and their changes in their psychophysiological state recorded.

Last years project had great success for it’s first year with one participant going on to be a member of the Team Canada women’s contingent that placed first at the AIDA World Championships in Ibiza, Spain last October with Team Canada overall placing second.

For a project outline, schedule or photos from 2001, go to CAFA’s website at under ‘SFU Program’.”

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.