AIDA individual pool world championships 2005

Renens, Switzerland

From 26th till 28th august 2005 the first individual AIDA indoor world Freediving championships where held in Renens (Switzerland). Myself and my girlfriend and photographer Patricia Ribas were lucky enough to get selected (myself for all disciplines representing the Netherlands and Patricia doing DYN and STA representing Brazil). We were in good shape after some touch training the weeks before and left by car from the Netherlands already the 20th to acclimatise and get some training in the competition pools. Still thinking the weather would be as it had been for the last weeks (30C) we only packed summer clothes. How stupid we were.........
Turned out that while underway the weather had changed into a national disaster flooding several cities and wiping of the face of the planet some small villages in central Switzerland. Lucky for us Lausanne was sort of spared, but it did rain for 3 days 24hrs/day straight. So we had no choice but to shop for suitable clothes the moment we got there to prevent s from freezing ;-) Anyway on Tuesday morning we managed to get in a good training in clear weather and were ready for action.

Day 0 opening day
Wednesday the official registration and opening took place. By then we had already met lots of our friend and met up with the rest of the competitors. So lots of time for chatting about. The opening itself was a pleasant surprise since it resembled a bit (in a mini form) an Olympic opening ceremony, including a parade with flags trough the town centre , national anthems of all competing teams and a speech of the major of Renens.
The evening dinner was a bit limited but was to be expected with the small entrance fee. (We all agreed it would have been better to raise the entrance fee and get a big dinner instead). We left early to get some serious sleep in. Didn't work and a sleepless night (nerves, jitters etc) was unavoidable. It felt real. It felt big.

Day 1 Dynamic with Fins Day
I had an early start because the starting order was random instead of the usual starting order based on announced performance. My nerves were exploding but still managed to calm myself down for a good breathup. In the end I did 118 meter (a small PB) with completely acidified legs, but had expected a bit more.

Later after checking the video I found out why. My finning technique was looking bad. Too much knee action. Must have been the excitement. Anyway a good result.
Patricia did a very nice and easy looking 77 meters (small PB for her as well)

but became a victim of the new surface protocol. When removing her mask the floater she was leaning on slipped away and her mouth hit the water >> disqualified. The rest of the qualification heat was very exiting to watch.
The other Dutch team members: Kars van Kouwen did a nice PB of 129 meters and Nanja van den Broek was unfortunately disqualified for finishing on the side wall instead of on the line. From the world top divers Stig Severinsen did a little over 200meters and ended up in the finals together with of course Tom Sietas who made a (for him) more economical dive.

The final itself was nothing less then spectacular (albeit in massive rain showers), where 3 people made 200 meters !!!! In 3rd place and major surprise was the 18 year old Alexei Molchanova with 199 meter , duhhhhh. Second Stig with a clean 202 meters

and first Tom Sietas with 208 meters , who just in time managed to pull himself out of a samba ;-)

The women? s final was no less exciting. Natalia Molchanova blew away all competition with an amazing new world record of 178 meters !! followed by the newcomer Suzy Kensington with 159 meters and closing of with Johanna Nordblad with 150 meters.

Day 2 Static Day
For static what we feared happened. Patricia and myself were almost having our OT at the same time. This was a big problem since we are also each others coach. After some calculation and deliberation we arranged ourselves a coach . I would immediately after my attempt in lane C take over Patricia from her coach (Rik Rosken) to be her in water safety and coach during her attempt in lane B. (talk about tight planning haha). My static went ok and I was able to gather enough fighting power to push out a 6:19min , with a slight samba , which I could recover from in time to give the OK signal. I think my breathup was just a tad bit too heavy. I already felt this right at the beginning when my fingers cramped a bit (hyperventilation effect).Still a nice time.

Patricia pushed herself right to the limit for hat day and managed a clean 3:50min. A little below her PB of 4:17 but considering the tension of the event a good performance.
From the other Dutch team members Nanja van den Broek had a very bad day and prematurely had to stop her attempt which felt very bad. Kars van Kouwen proved his good form with a clean 6:29min and Rik Rosken did a 5+ minute? s personal best and Susan Kluytman a clean 3:26 min

The finals were again very exiting with 2 massive static for the women over 7 minutes !!. Natalia Mochanova reset the world record with a 7:16 min

and Veronica Dittes took silver medal with 7:00 min followed after a full minute by Johanna Nordblad with 6:06min.

The men? s final was won by Sam Still with 8:15 followed by Timo Kinnunen with 7:53min and Wolfram Neugebauer with 7:07min.

Big surprise was current WR holder Tom Sietas , who did not make it to the finals. Right at the start of his qualifying static he had a small packing blackout under water because of which he lost almost all his air. He quickly gave an ok sign and continued with almost empty lungs to an amazing but insufficient 6:13min !!!!

Day 3 Dynamics without Fins Day
Today was the time to prove to myself that my National Record of 114m in this discipline (in 25m pool) was not just luck. I managed to do an easy 105 meters with lots to spare and came up cleaner then clean. But here is the trick. While undoing my mask my mouth touched the water and I got disqualified ????????? So now I have the strange situation that I got a white card for a samba in static and a red card for one of the cleanest dives I ever made. Go figure.............. Patricia did not compete in DNF.
The rest of the Dutch team did also very good. Kars van Kouwen finished 3 meters short (111 meters) of my current National record (pffffffff), Roland van den Akker did a very good 84 meters and Nanja van den Broek recovered her shitty competition until then with a very nice 79 meters. Renate de Bruin got herself in the finals with a clean 95 meters.

The finals were another Russian get together between mother and son Molchanova.
Mother obliterated the current world record with a beautiful 124 meters

followed by Johanna Nordblad's 106 meter

and our own Dutch hope Renate de Bruin with 100 meters.

Her son got second place with 131 meters in a beautiful mathematical perfect swimming style

, right afters Stig Severinsen's easy looking 165 meters

and before Wolfram Neugebauers 124 meters. Another strange surprise especially for the organisers was that in the opener of the women? s finals 2 women swam more than the world record. Both Tania Streeter and Susie Kensington , who did not make the finals) did around 120 meters !!!.

Big discussions for the organisers and AIDA judges what to do about this. In the end they made the right decision to count them as national records and not as world records since they were not part of the official competition. This makes sense since in the real competition the tension level is much higher, which influences your performances negatively. Without pressure most people perform much better.

Anyway a great ending to a great competition, where we had lots of fun as well as excitement and met lots of new and lots of old friends. Let? s hope we can be part of next year? s event as well& &

Big thanks to all organisers , judges, safety? s , sponsors and freedivers for making this happen.

Greetzzzz and love,

Glenn Venghaus

Check out the foto gallery at Glenn's freediving gallery for lots more pictures of this competition.

Glenn Venghaus homepage