by: Anna von Boetticher

photo: H. Kreutzman

Another day
at TP

One last day

One day at Triple Depth 2008

Pyramid spotted floating in the Blue Hole! Athletes who arrived early this morning were greeted by a sight not unusual to Egypt – a pyramid steel construction had materialized over night and was anchored firmly in front of the arch lowering a single rope into the blue abyss.

The unique construction by Peter Ericsson has been improved with two platforms on the right and left side, offering ample space for judges, dry warm ups, camera and Swedish scientist Erika Shagatay, who was continuing her study of athletes oxygen saturation after the dive, started during Bizzy blue hole in April.

21 divers were competing in free immersion today. Rumors around Natalia Molchanova had been circulating for some time – she was seen in the blue hole disappearing for long times into the depths, training by herself: apparently she said it wasn’t a problem, because she was wearing only one kilo….she was enjoying being alone after spending a week in the water with 51 students! People in the know have mentioned that a good sign that she is strong is the fact that she has been really sociable – she was spotted smiling and chatting with people in the blue hole.

All rumours were confirmed last night when she announced a new world record in free immersion with 82m. This would put one meter on Sara Campbell’s record from last October.

Sofus Kreutzmann from Sweden has been distracted by the arrival of his girlfriend Ingela Karlsson – he was saved from announcing constant weight instead of free immersion only because Rahel Zemoi intervened at the last minute!

A crowd of freedivers training in the blue hole fighting over places to tie on forced the Swedish/Finnish buoy into a bad spot, where they proceeded to get their line stuck on the reef and had to be rescued by Ben Guyat from the UK.

Aqua Marina was busy with freedivers stretching, shouting for bottles of water, lying around with their Ipods and generally taking up the whole restaurant. Peter Ericsson was the general who kept this unruly crowd in check and was demanding white cards from everyone. Judge Linda Paganelli was checking with athletes what bribes they had brought – offers of salami, chocolate, money and other goods were all deemed unsatisfactory because they had not been brought along – red cards were looming on the horizon….she promised Rahel a white card for a good mouthfill. Strange bribe for a judge, but there you have it.

The competition kicked off with George Miller, who was apparently so distracted by the safety divers mesmerizing blue eyes, that she forgot to pull and just drifted to the surface in a daze. Other freedivers were heard considering a protest because their safety diver was not good looking enough – the writer of this article washes her hands of this, all safety divers are naturally extremely handsome!

The competition ran very smoothly. Many athletes commented on the fact that the pyramid was extremely stable, making free immersion very nice and easy!
Rahel, a judge herself, who says she could never understand how people could be silly enough to start early, put her head in the water and was surprised to hear: “…official top” with her airways well submerged. This put her off and she turned early. She had done this in training, but all attempts on the writer’s part to stop this bad habit had clearly failed. Guess she won’t do it again now…! I was happy because my messy mouthfill took me to 53m, where I was surprised to bump into the plate.

Richard from Germany and Martin from Sweden were both saved by their coaches shouting them through the surface protocol, otherwise, most people managed to be clean and strong on the surface.

The dive of the day was Natalia’s world record: she went down with her very own technique which involves a leg kick for every pull, and returned looking like she had just done a 30m dive. Tomorrow she is resting – she is certainly diving more conservatively than she has been recently and seems to be having a great time with it. There is surely more to come from this great athlete!

The deepest guy was Rob King of the USA, who dropped past the plate at 69m, hit his head on the bottom weights when he turned around, and came up looking very fresh. The 77m FIM national record is should be within his grasp on the next opportunity! Fellow competitors have looked upon him with envy, since he is in the possession of a prototype noseclip made by Performance Freediving – it is COMFORTABLE!! Unfortunately production won’t start until January next year – my name is down, get in the line quickly!