The trailer

The little goldfish
text by Sebastian Näslund

Maybe it is not as hard as we thought. But I must admit I was very impressed back in 2001 when witnessing David Lee breaststroking down to 47 meters in Greek crisp clear waters. A new FREE world record.
It took many years until any Aida athlet took the challenge. Dieter Bauman was the first as he saw a chance to make the record books and swam to 33 meters in the summer of 2003. Probably a great personal feat but not very impressive as a world record. It was not until Danish Stig Severinsen did 61 meters later the same year that the FREE performance in the unassited discpline had been surpassed leaving finish Topi Lintukangas a meter shallower.

Everybodys´diving without finns…
The disciplines popularity has grown and this autumn no less than five world class athletes will have a go at the record. Wolfram Neugebaurs is first out (not honouring Davids 65 meters). Herbert Nietsch will certainly go for 65 if he finds time for it even though diving to 65 meters under Aidarules is a lot harder than under FREE rules which let you get closer to a BO. Surprisingly Topi Lintukangas has switched to Aida in his upcoming try at the Constant No fins record and will (according to registered depths on the aidawebsite) try only to beat Stigs 61 meter.

Also the current Aida CNF World record holder Stig Severinsen has set his aim at the record again. He is not at all impressed with David smashing the old record with his 65 meters. Even though he is not an advocate for the sambarule he will make his recordattempt under Aidarule. He knows he has to go deeper than 65 but at the same time has little respect for an organization were it seems like ”the trainer is judging the athlete”.

Not that much difference...
I have often wondered about the relationship between diving with fins compared to unassisted diving. If one could find a just factor maybe compeeting inbetween the two disciplines would be possible. I myself had a go at the discipline when I set the first swedish record to 40 meters back in 2002. What initaly seemed like a huge challenge over time has turned out to be alot easier than I thought. I would say the the ratio between CWT an CNF is 1.35. If I am right the CNF record should soon reach 75 meters. And Stig together with Carlos has set their aim on 70 meters in Venezuela in late september.

All focus on the dane…
Stig is currently on a world training tour monitored by danish television. His freediving and his WR attempt will be the focus of a 4 x 30 minutes documentary series on prime time television. From a distance it seems like he has made a dreamdeal for a freediver. He (or we, since I am the underwater videoman) has just returned from a visit to the Thai island Koh tao filming very shy and elusive sharks. Before that he spent a few days in the red sea diving along side Bevan Dewar and Lotta Ericson in the blue hole (the two did some very strong dives to 89 and 61 respectivly). Stig did a CNF dive to 48 and the 70 meter aim seems very far away.
Holding his breath is not the problem, this guy can swim forever on one breath (remember his DNF record 166 meter). Stigs problem is equalizing – he has actually never been deeper than 62 meters (with a broken eardrum). But now he has six weeks of payed training with the only disturbance a TV team pushing him around looking for that perfect angle.

All around the world…
The TV series made its start on Sardinia in Italy with a visit to a very proud Umberto who boasted 88 meters after switching to monofin. Something I never thought would happen since ”the legend” never adopted packing, dont believe in negative warm-up dives and finds hook-breathing very unecessary. Monofins was a very ”unitalian” thing in a community of avid spearfishers back when Umberto set the 80 meter constant record.

Next stop on the Stig world tour is a visit to Hawaii to train with Anabel and swim with mantas and turtles. During the coming weeks I will have a chance to study Stigs training. I am very intrested in finding out what it takes to be the holder of two world records ( two out of eight possible). Stig actually consider himself the holder of three WR since he found his DQ of a 204 meter Dynamic swim totally unjust. Five present judges in Holland deemed it OK but ”Dieter Bauman on the board saw a ”clear samba” on the video”.

Maybe I will find out if it is genes, talent or hard training that makes a guy able to swim 166 meters without fins in a pool. While filming Stig diving I sometimes wonder if this might be the ultimate freediving machine. A body more athletic than Stepanek, a more burning motivation than can be found in Herbert, slightly more pull in the strokes than in Topi, more dedication than David. And the selfconfidence like all the above combined.

In swim school in a little town in Denmark 20 years ago they had the tradition of once a week playing a game that involved holding ones breath. One of them was choosen to be the shark – the others were goldfish. If a goldfish was touched while at the surface he bacame a shark himself. Only under water were the little goldfish safe but more and more of them were turned into sharks till there only remained one little goldfish in a pool of sharks. Guess the name of the little goldfish that always survived to the end!

Sebastian Näslund Watervideo