On Sunday 28th March 2010 I, along with Matt Kitchen were the AIDA Judges for the BFA Great Northern Pool Competition at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre. For me, competitions are always an experience, but being out of the water made it a lot more fun.
Being pool side and watching the athletes compete meant that not only did I have the benefit of seeing all the preparation, performances and technique, but I was also given an amazing snapshot of the state of UK Freediving in the run up to the team world championships in Okinawa and the world cup in Greece and it’s looking really healthy. This competition was all about unifying the various groups around the UK to put forward a united front.
First place for the men was taken by David King with a storming 6.58 static and 217m dynamic swim creating a new British record. He was coached fantastically by George Miller who came second in the women’s comp, their electric blue suits marking them out as team Smurf. The only thing missing was Papa.
Sam Still of Apneists UK training at the moment in London, came second for the men, since his phenomenal position as world champion just a few short years ago, and then semi-retirement after the Dahab bombings, Sam was poolside demonstrating Qi Gong and an incredible physique, and back in the water ‘just taking it easy’ with two solid white card performances. Stuart Bond of Apneists UK was just behind him in third with a lovely 150 dynamic.
The competition was organised by Steve Millard of www.freedivers.co.uk, assisted by Stuart Bond of the BFA. Steve has been instrumental in growing British Freediving in the North West and in a few short years has an active club of over 50 and great new talent including the Buckley mermaids (Mandy with a 150m dynamic and her sister-in-law Alison with a solid 100m in her first competition) and also Chris Laycock who won ‘best newbie’ with an easy 123 dynamic swim.
Even though the ladies were thinner on the ground and we were missing big hitters such as Sara Campbell, the competition was very close with great performances from Liv Philip who came first in front of George Miller and Sam Kirby.
As a judge, my job was made all the easier by incredible organisation and facility, support from a great team and well drilled athletes. click here to watch Daves amazing swim.
Liverpool Aquatics Centre
First Prizes – Orca suit
Second Prizes – Trygon
Third Prizes – No Tanx monofin bags