by: Anna von Boetticher

photo: H. Kreutzman

One last day at triple day

Another day at Triple Depth 2008

Dahab’s freedivers woke up to a windy morning in the blue hole. Thankfully, this meant that the air temperature has finally dropped to more manageable levels. The results were imidately obvious when Erika Shagatay came to check the athletes oxygen saturation and heartrate: mine had dropped to 54 compared to 75 the day before.

Announcements were considerably deeper today and had freedivers quickly in the 50’s. Martin Wikstrom from Sweden stood out with an announced depth of 57m: a pb for the man who discribed himself a "stubborn“. He proved this during an incident in training recently: when the Swedish buoy was forced into a bad position on the reef due to overcrowding in the blue hole, his buddies repeatedly warned him not to dive deep because he might encounter the reef. His stubborness prompted him to ignore this advice – he was later seen in Aqua Marina restaurant, bleeding from his head and foot. The authors are still awaiting reports on the condition of the reef after this head on collision...we will post a full result on who’s head is harder: the coral head, or Martin’s head as soon as the apropriate study has been completed.

Richard Wonka of Germany, who had an issue with a super slow surface protocol, speeded up his recovery breathing from 3 breaths in 15 seconds to three breaths in 6 seconds, and pulled a clean 51m pb out of the hat.

Judge Lotta Ericsson ditched the blue-suit-yellow-t-shirt-yellow-mask-miss-Sweden outfit she sported yesterday in favour of a Vegas-style ensemble involving a blue suit, pink cowboy hat and luminous yellow mask. We are looking into possible psychological damage caused in freedivers who were greeted by this vision imediately after surfacing.

Camera operator and general help in all circumstances Dean was busy doing a gret job at batting off snorklers who were trying to clamber onto the wonderfully stable looking platform. They turned around and mostly proceeded to climb onto the reef...

Rahel, who was well focused and had psyched herself up for a big dive to 50m, got involved in a discussion the judges were having at less than two minutes to her official top. Aparently this argument involved whether she would be allowed to dive or not, since she had been on the line a little late...with only 30sec to go she found it hard to recover her cool and started her duck dive without her noseclip. In an amazing feat witnessed by the author through binoculars, she managed to keep herself clear of the water at the last second, put on her noseclip and dive before the -30sec were up. Unfortunately she could not relax enough on the dive and turned early. Fellow freedivers advised her to take the Herbert approach in the future: ignore any discussions, do the dive, and just say: „it was time to dive“ afterwards.
Croatia is in a slightly unusual position during this competition, with national records set by Vedrana Vidovic first, then half an hour later reset deeper by Karla Fabrio, who is currently leading the womens ranking by points. Fellow Croatian Veljano Zanki did an impressive dive to 80m today, in an unbelievable 2:20! Floating up the last 15m, he looked at the surface and shook his fists in a gesture of victory – this nearly ended his dive with a red card, since to the safety diver behind him it looked as if he was having a samba.

Tomorrow is another exciting day: Natalia Molchanova has announced a world record with 60m CNF. This dive will probably not be problem for her in her current form...

Rob King, who is leading the men’s ranking and holds the USA unassisted record with 55m, has surprised us by announcing 35m for tomorrow. He claims it is so he can return a favour and coach the author of this article – me, I just think he’s lazy!

Anna von Boetticher (who will be looking for the mouthfill she lost somewhere in the blue hole...)