Wednesday, 18 September 2013

World Championships!

I have spent the last twelve days thinking: "tomorrow I will put my fin on", with common sense kicking in every morning. In fact, I ended up spending three whole days dry after the accident, and then stuck to free immersion like a really good girl. This was mostly due to my freediving bodyguards arriving from Sharm to take care of me (and the other athletes - they have joined the safety team), with evil coach giving me a taste of his sternest voice on a daily basis. It goes something like this:

Me: "I was thinking I might try to put my fin on tomorrow"
Coach: "No."
Me: "But...but...I could..."
Coach: "No."
Me: "But...but...I want my monofiiiiiiiin, I want it I want it I waaaaant it...."
Coach: NO!

photo by Daan Verhoeven

What is a girl to do?? Instead, evil coach pushed me right ahead and made me announce 76m FIM in the Kalamata mini competition we had going on before worlds. This was a little interesting because I knew well the dive time might be on my limit - in the end, it took 3:03 which was certainly long enough, but it was also one of my most beautiful dives with amazing equalization (constant pressure all the way to 76m!) and my 25th German record. I love free immersion, and so on. Did I mention? I want my MONOFIN!

photo by Daan Verhoeven

Since then, I have taken it easy, hanging by the pool and helping my training buddy Liv to figure out a strategy for the no fins world championship competition and going out to coach her. We made a brilliant team as she came up clean and smiling for her first bronze medal! Go Liiiiiv!!

Yesterday I finally managed to break my coach, put my fin on and swam down to 65m. It was not a pleasant experience, and my coach may have had a point as now the wound is worse. But I needed to test myself before announcing my depth for tomorrow's competition day. All that's left to do is cross my fingers, hope for the best and remember the doctor from the hospital:



Monday, 9 September 2013

Monofin attack

The first week of training at the 2013 freediving depth world championships has come to an end. Mostly, it was brilliant! I reigned in my freediving devil and took it easy, spending time on getting acclimatised to the beautiful mediterranean sea. Our favorite freediving waterworld is back out there, 2 miles from shore! There is something magical about diving into nothingness so far away from land. It makes that moment at depth feel all the more intense.

I had a really good dive to 75m on Friday - swimming up has never felt so easy, all the work I did to get the legs in shape is paying off - so yesterday I was mentally geared up to give myself a bit of extra rope and set the plate to 85m. Feeling nicely excited about this excellent plan I was walking down the beach, straight into the arms of Mr. Murphy, whom I have been dodging since April. My 5kg monofin slipped from my hands and landed on my foot with the sharp edge of the blade, giving me a nice clean cut all the way to the bone.

In classic freediver mode, my first thought was: oh no! my fin!! Having examined the blade for damage, I was relieved to see that it was fine. Next, I looked down to check my foot, thinking: oh, a bit of a cut! I was just considering if I needed to tape that before getting into the water, when Liv came over, took one look and went: "OH FUCK!!!" At this point it started to dawn on me that I might have a small problem here.

An hour later, I was in hospital, getting x-rayed to check for possible damage to the bone and stiched up by a young Greek doctor, who shook his head and then, as he proceeded to stich me without the slightest thought to anastethic, did an interesting mind thing: he told me to take a breath (now, this could mean many things to a freediver - how big should it be? Full? Half??), pushed the needle in and said, in a commanding tone: "no pain! There is NO PAIN!!!"... Aha. I thought I might mention that there was, indeed, some pain - my exact words were: "well, there is a bit..." - to which he responded: "NO! THERE IS NO PAIN!" At this point I finally got what he was doing - a mind game! Brilliant! I'm a freediver, so I get mind stuff. When he was done he told me to keep it dry (hmmmm) and  sent me off to contemplate if I could possibly get in the water the next day.

I needed various drugs, so after lunch Liv and Stavros took me to the pharmacy and then for a coffee and we soon realized that it was possibly not safe to have me out on the streets that day. First, I dropped my waterbottle right onto the injured foot. Then, I got out of the car and the bottle jumped out of my bag and fell on my foot - again! Next, I tripped on the stairs going up to the cafe. At this point, my freediving buddies decided that they were going to put me on a safe looking chair and forbid me to move. Thinking I was in the clear, I reached out to pick up the beautiful looking Latte the waitress had put in front of me in a large glass, when Liv suddenly shouted NOOOOOOO... the glass had a crack from top to bottom, making it ready to explode in my hand and send me right back to see the nice doctor for more mind games. Attacked by monofins, waterbottles and coffees in one day! Clearly, the only safe place was my bed.

Since then, I have managed to spend the night without further accidents, and have also come to my senses a little bit, realizing that I cannot put my fin on for a few days. That means I will have to train one of my least favorite disciplines. Urgh.

New mantra: I love free immersion, I LOVE free immersion, I love it....