Under a full bloom of cherry blossoms, the 2018 Pan Pacific Pool Freediving Championship successfully took place, from March 21st through the 24th at the Chiba International General Swimming Center, east of Tokyo, Japan. The competition hosted 64 athletes from 14 different countries including Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Taiwan plus a lone Russian along with the Pacific Rim state of Hawaii for the US.

Kathryn Nevatt of NZ took home top honors in all disciplines
Kathryn Nevatt of NZ takes top honors in all disciplines.

While the event boasted the capacity for World Record status, what it bore witness to was the achievement of eight new national records, across a variety of countries and a hat-trick for Kathryn Nevatt of New Zealand. Ms. Nevatt took first place in all three of the disciplines, and was happy to regain her championship title as she shared on facebook:

Today’s medal haul: gold for statics, dynamic no fins, dynamics and overall women’s champion – regained my Pan Pacific title. Plus the NZ team placed 3rd overall. Thanks to everyone who helped me get here – you know who you are.”

Eight new National Records from the 2018 Pan Pacs
Eight new National Records from the 2018 Pan Pacs.
AIDA Judges and World Record holder Alexey Molchanov watched over the Pan Pacs
AIDA Judges and World Record holder Alexey Molchanov at the Pan Pacs.

Alexey Molchanov of Russia and Pierre Crubille of New Caledonia jousted back and forth for first place for the men. See the complete list of winning performances here below:

STA

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

1

Alexey Molchanov

RUS

7’00”

7’37”

Kathryn Nevatt

NZL

5’32”

7’23”

2

Pierre Crubille

NCL

5’50”

7’24”

Hanako Hirose

JPN

1’03”

5’54”

3

Nicolas Jaouen

NCL

5’45”

7’03”

Yuki Kusachi

JPN

4’12”

5’47”

DNF

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

1

Pierre Crubille

NCL

125m

175m

Kathryn Nevatt

NZL

127m

156m

2

Shinya Oi

JPN

100m

165m

Asumi Ueno

JPN

20m

136m

3

Alexey Molchanov

RUS

126m

157m

Yasuko Ozeki

JPN

75m

131m

DYN

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

Athlete

Nationality

AP

RP

1

Alexey Molchanov

RUS

205m

250m

Kathryn Nevatt

NZL

161m

198m

2

Shinya Oi

JPN

175m

227m

Suzanne Malseed

NZL

140m

193m

3

Pierre Crubille

NCL

160m

207m

Yasuko Ozeki

JPN

110m

187m

And in the overall performance by country: the top three ranking nations for the event were Japan in first with both a men’s and a women’s team, New Caledonia in second with only a men’s team and New Zealand in third for overall performances with both female & male representation.

Pan Pacs 2018 ranking by overall performances by country
Pan Pacs 2018 ranking by overall performances by country.

This event, by all measures, was a terrific success; it provided a rare opportunity for freedivers in the Pacific Rim to meet athletes from around their region and the world. It is hoped that the tradition of the Pan Pacs will continue with a next iteration perhaps in New Zealand in 2020.

Freedivers take their marks at the Chiba International Swim Center
Freedivers take their marks at the Chiba International Swim Center.

Photos and on-sight reporting provided by Junko Kitahama

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