Every year, the BFA selects the male and female National Champion based on competition results across all disciplines in the pool and open water. For UK divers this means training year-round and often having to travel abroad to reach the depths needed to excel on the World stage.
Meet 2015’s UK Champions Liv Phillip and Tim Money, who have trained together for many years in London. This is Liv’s 9th consecutive year as Champion, and Tim’s 3rd. Both are AIDA Instructors, representing the UK regularly at team and individual championships and both volunteer their precious time to assist in running the BFA. Liv and Tim spoke to each other about their freediving year, challenges overcome, achievements and how they’ve kept on top of their game for 10 years.
Liv Phillip (LP): “Tim, I met you on a cold winter’s day on the Saltfree platform in 2006. You were doing some sort of strange leg stretch in your wetsuit. Why are you still going strong in freediving ten years later?”
Tim Money (TM): “Freediving is great escapism from conventional life, which of course I value with my job and family, but it gives me a chance to have some adventures. Plus, the community is special. At events there is a common shared love and understanding of freediving despite differences in race, culture and lifestyle and I think that is pretty unique. Our sport is competitive, but because of the intensity of our sport, camaraderie shines through”.
TM: “Liv, you like all the competitive disciplines and this is the 9th consecutive year you have been the British Women’s Champion, what was your freediving all about in 2015?”
LP: “2015 was totally about looking after my family and not about freediving. I took two trips to deep dive this year and the training time was minimal, but it provided some much needed time away from responsibilities back in the UK. Family illness and difficult circumstances meant it wasn’t possible to make the sort of selfish decisions necessary to be a top athlete, but made it very clear how much I love diving in the sea. The challenges I’ve faced this year outside of freediving have been very important to me to put into the perspective how unimportant competition results are in the grand scheme of things. Having said that, as soon as I was in the water, I valued every moment and I think that explains winning the British Champion title. I ended up with a personal best in Free Immersion with a 4th place dive of 68m at the Depth World Championship in Cyprus. The nice thing is that my mum is my biggest fan and this really cheered her up”.
LP: “What about you? How were you looking at your freediving in 2015?”
TM: “I got some more time in deep water this year which let me concentrate on some things. I did more UK diving, which I enjoy and keeps me from getting so rusty, and I was able to get away to the Cyprus Depth World Individual Championships. I did a Constant Weight dive to 67m there, but I think for me the real achievement was the experience of learning how to do that. I went to the Bahamas earlier in the year for the Vertical Blue Championship and my family came along, but I found my little girl won my attention hands down and so I just dived for fun”.
LP: “Are you still as excited about freediving 10 years on?”
TM: “I question this every winter, and I’ve decided I will continue in whatever way as long as I am enjoying it. That may be recreational, within my club, teaching, or competitively”.
TM: “And how about you?”
LP: “Yes, I still love what I’m doing and I am quite adept at changing things so I don’t get bored. Anyway someone has to beat you and give you something to aim at!”
TM: “Haha! I think having a training partner who I can have healthy competition with gives us both a kick to make an effort”
LP: “I agree you need a training partner who’s going to be honest with you and know when to tell you the truth however much you might not want to hear it. When it all goes right, or wrong, you want your best friends to be there to share it with, or really what is the point of it all?”