On the weekend of February 11th & 12th 2012 three British athletes set out in the London snow, headed for an even more wintery destination. They were off to the AIDA Riga Freediving Cup 2012 to compete in the biggest indoor competition of the year in Eastern Europe. The competition invites you to take part as an individual and as a team. It was the third time that Riga gathered freedivers from the Baltic nations Sweden, Estonia, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland & Finland, and the three UK athletes put on a good show.
Liv Philip, Tim Money and Gary McGrath who all train with London Freedivers in Richmond www.londonfreediving.org, competed on the first day in static and dynamic no fins. Liv won the static event with the best static she has done in a competition of 5:58. Later in the day Gary did one of his first DNF competition performances swimming a very stylish 82m. Tim swam an easy 111m to put him in 5th place, and Liv won the women’s event and was placed 6th overall in the DNF with an easy 110m swim.
After exploring a frozen lake where fishermen cut holes in ice which creaked underfoot as you walked on it, and your face froze after a few minutes in -10, the three cold Brits decided that freediving in Riga was best done in swimming pools and headed off on day two to the 50m pool complex. A memorial to its former soviet days, the pool had real atmosphere.
The Dynamic competition is always tough when you are amongst Eastern European Freedivers as they have access to great pools and many experienced athletes who train this discipline. The World Champion Goran Colak was at the event and swam a smooth 225m dynamic. Feeling inspired by watching other great divers, Tim did 163m dynamic performance to put him into 5th place in that event, his best competition distance to date and in beautiful style. Gary and Liv put in two solid performances of 115m & 134m respectively.
Liv Philip won the women’s competition overall and Goran Colak topped the men’s ranking both winning new tailor made Elios freediving suits. Tim, Liv and Gary hope to see some of the freedivers they met in Riga at the UK Championships in Liverpool in March.