Picture Credit: Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)
The 2015 AIDA Individual Depth World Championships have now closed and this year were hosted in Limassol, Cyprus from 11 – 19 September, on a spectacular 500m2 barge, with up to 40m visibility. A team of 8 British athletes represented the country: Liv Philip, Georgina Miller, Helena Boudillon and Beci Ryan for the women and Michael Board, Tim Money, John Moorcroft, George Close for the men. Michael Board came to the competition with 2 Wild Cards one in constant weight (CWT) and the other in free immersion (FIM), meaning he ranked Top Ten in the World last year (in those disciplines). All the athletes are self-funded and were grateful to receive sponsorship from Elios, Divesangha and Bounce Energy Balls.
Strong currents and changeable weather effected this year’s World Championship competition. Because the currents had a tendency to build in the afternoon, the deepest athletes competed first, which meant extremely early starts and a change in routine (at short notice) for these elite contenders – this was reflected in conservative announcements and a high level of disqualification for some. But of course the sea is the sea and not known for being tamed so all the athletes had to adapt their performances and announcements and it made for an interesting and not at all predictable competition.
There were three competition days, one for each of the competitive depth disciplines: constant weight no fins (CNF), constant weight (CWT) and free immersion (FIM). Day one was CNF. Sayuri Kinoshita (JPN) and Mandy Sumner (USA) shared gold for the women with dives of 58m, Estrella Navarro (MEX) took silver with 50m and Jennifer Wendland (GER) won bronze and a national record with 46m. Alexey Molchanov (RUS) won gold for the men with a dive of 85m, Mateusz Malina (POL) and Miguel Lozano (ESP) shared silver with dives of 76m and Stig Prys (DEN) took bronze with a 75m dive. The UK’s John Moorcroft came in 8th for the men with a strong clean dive of 64m.
Day two was dedicated to CWT. Misuzu Okamoto (JPN) swam down to 90m for gold; Sayuri Kinoshita (JPN) won silver with 88m and Natalia Zharkova (UKR) bronze with 87m. Liv Philip placed 11th with 64m, Helena Bourdillon 13th with 60m and Georgina Miller came 15th with dive to 51m. Alexey Molchanov won his second gold with a dive to 122m for the men, Samo Jeranko (SLO) and Goran Colak (CRO) shared silver with dives to 108m and George Panaglotakis (GRE) won bronze with 103m. Tim Money came in 16th with a dive to 68m and newcomer George Close swam a comfortable 50m dive at his first World Championships.
The third and final competition day was for FIM. Jeanine Grasmeijer (NED) won gold with an 82m dive, Kate Middleton (NZL) and Hanako Hirose (JPN) shared silver with 76m dives and Natalia Zharkova bronze with 70m. Liv Philip came in 4th with 68m and Helena Bourdillon 7th with 57m. For the men William Trubridge (NZL) took gold with a dive to 112m, Miguel Lozano silver with 107m and Mateusz Malina bronze with 103m. Tim Money came 13th with a dive to 62m and Michael Board had set a new UK national FIM record in the pre-comp event of 97m.
There are two World Championships set for 2016: the AIDA Individual Pool World Championships in Finland and the AIDA Team World Championships (which combines pool and depth: static, dynamic and constant weight).