An essential part of successful freediving are our freediving friends. Especially depth training often involves lengthy stays in places far from home, where you share apartments/hotel rooms/tents with your mates. Freediving does not just happen in the water, but largely outside, too - you need your buddies around to moan about training miseries, wonder how to fix persisting problems, brainstorm target ideas and training plans, or develop a game plan for a competition, amongst many other things such as sharing silicone grease for your beloved monofin.
Our surroundings and the energy before and after diving is crucial to being happy and relaxed in the water, especially when you are challenging yourself and when things are not easy. Nothing quite takes the pressure out of things like having some freediving buddies around who laugh with you, drink the occasional beer, share the porridge in the morning and don't think you're a freak when you are holding your breath lying on the hotel bed. They know your highs and lows, what you are like when you are nervous as hell, what you look like when it all went wrong, what you look like when you dance around drunk at the closing party, and they are in it with all they have, just as much as you are. There is an open spirit between those of us who train and compete together that I love as much as the diving itself.
So here we go - 10 signs that you have great freediving buddies around:
1: They tie a smiley balloon to your locker when you have the training blues.
2: They let you have their favorite red sweatshirt when it suddenly gets freezing in the desert.
3: They practice looking stupid with balloons with you every day and do not think you are a freak.
4: When world championship nerves drive you out of your bed at dawn to go and stare at the sea, they are already there, just as nervous as you are.
5: They know that the thing to do when you have broken yourself ten days before a world championship is to get you a coffee.
6: They help you get a medal, and then they help you celebrate getting it. Liv (pictured) has one too, actually, but she lent it to safety diver Stewart for a while.
7: They make happy-kids-on-family-outing type faces at you when you turn around in the car. Because you all decided it was a good idea to get up at 04:30am to drive to Ras Mohammed national park at sunrise and swim with fishes. Sun decided to rise invisible behind clouds, but they are happy anyway.
8: They come with you to dive in a 14°C lake when it is raining outside. They don't even think it's stupid to sleep in a tent in the rain after getting frozen in the water first. In fact, they think it's the best thing ever. They are just as mad as you are.
9: They go: "wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee….!" with you on a sled
10: They know when it's time to quit being serious and just get down and partyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!