Eighty-two athletes from twenty-six countries have made the trek to the Bay Island of Roatan in Honduras to compete in this year’s AIDA Depth Freediving World Championship. Ten of these athletes are Americans, a record for US participation in this biannual event. Four American women and six men will compete with the other athletes to decide who the best freedivers are in the world. The World Championships will begin on August 22 and run through September 2.
The American athletes hail from across the United States with several living in the freediving mecca of Hawaii. The group consists of: Kerry Hollowell (AIDA Medical Officer), Annabel Edwards (former multiple world, US, US Masters record holder), Kristin Kuba, Jennifer Brant, Kurt Chambers (current US record holder in Constant Weight and Free Immersion, member of the USA Freediving Team in 2014), Brandon Hendrickson (current US record holder in Static Apnea, STA), Christopher Kim, Danial Koval, Brian Allemeier, and Christopher Funada (member of the USA Freediving Team in 2016). Americans are also well represented on the safety team for this event. Ren Chapman of North Carolina is leading the team as Head of Safety.
Brian is relatively new to the sport of freediving. He began seriously freediving as a safety freediver at this year’s Vertical Blue freediving competition in the Bahamas. Brian grew up in landlocked Indian, but was always drawn to the water as a competitive swimmer. He shares, “This sport continues to amaze me. I look back through my progression and I can see how I’ve been able to craft a new mentality and develop more positive emotions, which affect every aspect of my life.” Brian went on to say, “..when you bring a group of us [freedivers] together, everyone just clicks and revels in what diving has brought each of us.”
Annabel has been competing the longest and has held multiple world and national records. She currently holds several US Masters records. She and her daughter Jessica Kay were on some of the earliest USA Freediving Teams fielded for AIDA Team World Championships that are conducted biannually on opposite years of the depth championships. Annabel lives in Hawaii and has brought a contingent of masters freedivers with her to this championship, proving that there is no age limit to freediving and doing so well.
The championship is being hosted at the San Simon Beach Club on West Bay Beach providing easy access to the deep blue waters directly offshore. Esteban Darhanpe´ is the organizer of the competition. He says, “hosting the championship is a great honor that entails a huge responsibility.” Esteban has been hosting an annual competition known as the Caribbean Cup for several years with the hope of eventually hosting this championship. This year the Caribbean Cup was conducted just prior to the championship as a warm up competition.
The AIDA Depth Freediving World Championships consists of male and female athletes competing in the three individual depth freediving disciplines of Constant Weight (CWT), Constant No Fins (CNF), and Free Immersion (FIM). The top three male and female athletes in each discipline will be awarded medals. The US’s only gold medal at the AIDA Depth Freediving World Championships came in 2015 with Mandy Sumner’s performance in Constant No Fins in Cypress.
To learn more about the 2017 AIDA Depth Freediving World Championship event visit http://aidaworldchampionship2017.com
Constant Weight (CWT) challenges the athlete to swim to depth and back with the use of fins or a monofin under their own power while holding their breath. The athlete is not allowed to contact the competition line other than to recover their tag at depth while turning. Upon reaching the surface the athlete must perform a surface protocol within fifteen seconds of their return to the surface. Constant Weight is one of the most respected and contested disciplines in freediving.
Free Immersion (FIM) is the freediving discipline that requires the athlete to pull their way to depth and back using their hands to pull down and up the competition line while holding their breath.
Constant No Fins (CNF) is one of the most difficult of competitive freediving disciplines, as it requires the athlete to swim to depth and back under their own power with no swimming aids while holding their breath. The athlete may only use arm and leg strokes to perform. The motion is a modified breaststroke style.
Static (STA) is the freediving discipline performed laying face down in a pool with the athlete holding their breath as long as they can. The time is measured from submersion of the airway into the water until its exit.
USA Freediving is a non-profit association founded on the democratic representation of freediving within the United States and internationally. Founded in 2003, USA Freediving brought together a diverse group of 21 founding members, all interested in the development and growth of freediving. The association has grown to over one hundred members with continued growth expected. http://www.usafreediving.com
The International Association for the Development of Freediving, AIDA, is the international sanctioning body for freediving, individual and team competition, and freediving world record attempts. For more information about AIDA please visit http://www.aidainternational.org.