Posted by: Soren | June 1, 2013

Coupe d’Apnée – 2013

The 9th annual Montreal freediving competition is in the books and the cup has been returned to Toronto!

2013 Montreal Winners
A couple of months ago the pool looked incredible on paper at 50m long and a constant 3m deep. I had wanted to try swimming in a 50m pool for 2 years – so I couldn’t miss this event and had to go.  No excuses, or so I thought!

Montreal Outdoor Pool
As it turns out, the weather gods had other ideas and seeing as the pool is outdoors and at 8* rainy / windy weather on Sat and 12* rainy weather on Sunday, conditions were far from ideal.  We all have masks and wetsuits – how bad could it be??

Looking ahead to the forecast, I figured if nothing else, everyone would shiver before their official top (starting time), everyone would have awful performances and the adversity would pull us all together, make us stronger and we could laugh about it.

As it turns out, I managed my temperature well and achieved new Ontario Provincial records of 112m DNF on Sat and 169m DYN on Sunday.  This broke the previous ones I set set a month ago at Nationals of 105m DNF and 136m DYN.

I recorded a pathetic static event and got bored just lying there and surfaced at 2:31 (I can do longer CO2 tables or empty lung holds!) – but with only mild contractions – so I think I have to push this event next time!  I just keep telling ppl that I was saving myself for the dynamic events – yeah, that’s it! 😉

I completed all 3 events successfully, without penalties and earned “white cards”.

Jeff during 169 DYN

The point accumulation was enough for me to solidly secure the cup for Toronto.

Also from Toronto, Liuba safely secured the top spot for the women with 3 white card performances as well and Yaroslava received the silver medal.

Liuba also gets some credit for helping me secure the cup on behalf of Toronto – after my 169m swim and quick surface protocol, I patiently waited for the judge to show me the white card without moving a muscle – not even the respiratory ones! This was a problem as I forgot to breathe and if not for her shouting at me “BREATE JEFF, BREATHE!”, I just may have ended up with a red card DQ instead. :D.

Mental note: I must remember to practice hook-breaths in the pool!!

More people = more fun:
As it turns out, I was the only male from Toronto at the competition (although FT member William Winram flew in from
Roatan for Sunday’s DYN event – talk about climate shock!). We did get Yaroslava and Liuba out to represent the women, which is a much better ratio of participants than on the men’s side, but I know that we can both do better.

I really think that people might be missing out on some of the fun, friendly experience and camaraderie that a Freedive competition offers.

I started freediving just over 2 years ago and was interested in seeing where my limits were. It was then that the 7th annual Montreal competition was approaching and Yaroslava (at the time our only resident 100+m mermaid) published the article below which is an excellent read:

I believe it 100% and went into my first competition with an open mind, aiming to deliver my own best performances possible under competition conditions.

I managed 63m with bi-fins and 54m without.  Both were personal bests and I was on my way with a decent competition baseline and more importantly, many new friends in the Toronto and Montreal Freedive community.  I even recall William Winram (who I had never met in person at the time and I believe was training in Egypt) sending me an email congratulating me on 3 white cards.

Personally, I have never swam more than 75m in training and then only about 4x and as single repetitions.  I use comps as motivation to train and to push myself to peak with maximum attempt performances.

The competition environment provides focus, as well as a safe environment for you to mentally gear up to be able to give it your all for a single swim.

My last 3 competitions in DYN have yielded new personal bests each time at 101m, 136m and now 169m.

I am learning a lot about myself and am striving to find the edge of my current performance abilities. I feel that I have a long way to go still and am enjoying the ride.

It may take you 2-3 comps to get familiar with procedures / flow / rules of competition before getting comfortable with them. The divers meeting to go over the rules can seem daunting the first couple of times.  Either myself or some of the other competition veterans would be glad to go over them in advance with anyone that is thinking of trying their first competition.

There is no room for ego in freediving. It is an individual journey of self-discovery and the goal should be individual progression and learning. Try not to compare yourself to others or think that you can not swim far enough to enter a competition.  Even if you have moderate / conservative performances but receive white cards for a clean performance, you might just find yourself on the top half of the overall points list at the end of the comp!

Expectations aside, I think people should try a competition with the aim of familiarizing themselves with the format and also trying to achieve clean “white card” performances.

I don’t think you will regret it and remember – even if you are disappointed with your in-pool performances, the awards celebration / after-party rarely disappoints. 😀

See you at the next competition,



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