This weekend, Bristol Freedivers hosted their 3rd Bristol Blue Freediving competition, which this year incorporated the British Freediving Association’s National Freediving Championships. The event took place across two days, with the dynamic (with fins) taking place at Hengrove Park Leisure Centre on Saturday 24 March and the dynamic no fins and static at Horfield Leisture Centre on Sunday 25.
33 athletes gathered in Bristol from all across the UK and from across the water too – 9 nationalities in total were represented. The level of experience varied vastly, from world champions and national record holders to 7 people competing at their first competition. Testament to a fantastically well run event, twenty-seven new personal bests were set.
The winners of the National Freediving championships were Adam Drzazga and Beci Ryan and the overall male and female winners of the competition were Stig Pryds and Camilla Salling Olsen, true to their Viking roots they came and conquered! The gold medalists for the static element were Georgina Miller (06:28) and Adam Drzazga (06:13), for dynamics it was Camilla Salling Olsen (184m) and Stig Pryds (192m) and for dynamic no fins Beci Ryan (149m) and Stig Pryds (150m). The standard of newbie performances this year was so high, with Rosie Williams (04:32 STA, 111m DYN, 100m DNF) and Mik Bjorkenstam (05:30 STA, 109m DYN, 117m DNF) crowned the winners. Newbies David Mellor and Alex Atkins also deserve a mention, the competition for this newbie spot was unusually high and their performance were impressive with a lot more clearly still to give.
Freediving is an incredibly wonderful and strange sport where at one moment athletes are trying their utmost in the water to give their best performance and at the next, coaching someone else to reach their peak performance, even if it means they outrank you or beat you to a place on the podium. Bristol Blue’s 3rd competition was no exception to this rule, the organisers managed to create a calm, relaxed atmosphere, belying the incredibly hard work and effort that had clearly gone on well in advance of the event and behind the scenes on the day – from training and arranging the super slick safety team, organising the AIDA judges and assistant judges, securing (top) sponsors and managing an enthusiastic and friendly team of volunteers. Keeping control a bunch of nervous freedivers attempting to get into their zone of zen isn’t always easy and they did a wonderful job!
Last and not least, huge thanks to the amazing sponsors who provided fanstasic prizes and support – MARES – just add water, Finisterre, British Freediving Association, Freedive Ibiza and Saltfree Divers.
Words by Beci Ryan, Photography by Daan Verhoeven.