AAS Depth Championship, p. 3

I lounged by the pool and tried reading “Deep” which I had started a few days prior but reading about freediving competitions (where, according to the author, apparently everyone B.O or coughs up blood) while being amidst a freedive competition…well, it wasn’t very relaxing. My face was still hurting from smiling so much while I spoke to my parents some more and eventually I drove back to Amed to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in years! We enjoyed the sunset with some fresh coconuts and delicious dinner at Blue Earth while we overlooked Mt. Agung. It was such a perfect day – from beginning to end.

I came back to the hotel and did the same as the previous day, sent out my dive time for the following day, talked to friends and set up a positive mindset. I knew I would have way more time – too much time – in the morning because I was now one of the last athletes to compete. I wasn’t too happy about this, I’m more of a “just get it over with” as early as possible but hey – its all part of the competition! Went to sleep after visualizing once more my dive for the following day.

I woke up slowly, stretched, read messages of encouragement that made the butterflies in my stomach happy, had a handful of granola and then headed out to get ready. When I got to the beach some of my friends and fellow athletes were coming back from the platform. They didn’t carry great news either – strong currents, the PVC square was gone and it just made it really uncomfortable to be around. I got on the boat and headed out with Maria and some of the other athletes. It was later so the wind had picked up a bit and there was some current. I did my first warm up but as usual it didn’t feel amazing – which is normal for me so I didn’t stress too much about it. I went for my second warm up, just using a nose clip and descending slowly to 20m. I went down maybe 3-4 meters when I felt a horrible sting on my hands. Jellyfish. I came back up deciding I wasn’t going to risk a jellyfish sting to the face before my dive. When I looked up I realized the person that had just started diving was the competitor before me.

I did not feel ready. I rushed over to the buoy nearest to the competition area to take off my fins. Jonathan (the other competitor) did his surface protocol and before I could really assimilate much, it was my turn. I knew I could do this dive, I had done 45m in training a few times already and it felt easy but it was still 5m more than yesterday and I didn’t feel as calm.

I tried to stay as relaxed as possible, moving slowly. I asked how long I had for my breathe up – 3 minutes. Ok…that was that. I repeated the same thing as the day before, thought happy thoughts and hugs…I could hear my heart beat strong…30 seconds to go, so I took to two big inhales and passive exhales, then one big breathe and down I went. It was only a few pulls when I felt something was off around my waist, and just a few more meters and I felt my weightbelt all the way up on my chest. I had turned because of this situation during training but this was no training so I just told myself “ok, it will help you freefall better…” and kept going. My equalization was fine, but I was not that relaxed, it didn’t feel good. The tennis ball came faster than I thought even if I was way too focused on just getting there. I turned and started making my way up. There was still some current but as soon as I saw the safety divers I relaxed some more and simply kept going.

When I came out I focused on doing at least 5/6 recovery breaths before going on to the protocol. I did not feel hypoxic but I knew it wasn’t a comfortable dive and that I used up more oxygen that I normally did so I was playing it on the safe side. Did the protocol and then slowly started to realize “hey! I made it!” even winked at one of my judges who was looking at me with a sort of concerned look. When I got the white card I celebrated BIG TIME! It felt like my worst dive ever, and I did it. I pushed through, safely, trusting myself, controlling my reactions to events I couldn’t foresee and It felt amazing. I was so proud of myself – and still am!

I decided to stay for the last competitors before heading in. My heart rate this time checking out was actually high – I think I was still excited about my dive.

I had to announce my depth for the final day and I was quite nervous about it. A part of me wanted to go deeper so figured I could announce 47 FIM but my instructor and so many other people believed in me so much regarding my CW that I figured I’d give it a go. The question was whether to announce 40, 41, 42? My PB from two days before the competition was 41 meters. I did it comfortably and easily but it was only once. I knew I could do more though, if the nerves didn’t get the best of me. I decided to not go overly confident with it and just announce the 41…although I had some people saying (and they were right) that they knew I could do 45.

There was only one day left of competing but I knew I would definitely be celebrating at the closing party so my main sponsor (thank you Dad) treated me to two more nights at a hotel in the area. I tried booking one near the area where the even would be but ended up booking a place right next to where I already was. Me and Maria drove over to the new place and enjoyed foooood (because by this point we were starving) by a massive pool that we had all to ourselves! In the afternoon, my neighbor Augusto came over and I basically had the whole day to enjoy the sun, pool, good friends and laughs. That night I drove over to Amed to meet my friend again and enjoy an incredible tempeh burger (I love tempeh!) and then celebrate another friend’s birthday at Blue Earth where I treated myself to some amazing beetroot cake. Even if it wasn’t a PB cake, I definitely earned that slice after my dive!