Four other Team Members also qualify for A & B Finals
Picture Credit: Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)
The Individual AIDA Pool World Championships ran from 21st to 27th June in the city of Belgrade in Serbia, with 122 athletes from 27 countries in attendance. A team of eight British athletes made the trip to represent the UK and fly the flag: Adam Drzazga, Alice Hickson, Beci Ryan, Georgina Miller, Jason Kirkpatrick, Lucelle Simms, Rebecca Coales and Shirley Turner.
The team was made up of seasoned and novice athletes alike. Despite it being an individual event the athletes worked together as a team, offering competition advice and coaching one another’s performances. All the athletes on the team are self funded and this year they were grateful to receive sponsorship from Divesangha, Bounce Energy Balls and Beet-it shots.
From the onset the team looked strong, with three athletes, Rebecca Coales, Georgina Miller and Beci Ryan holding wild cards (meaning they ranked top ten in the world for one or more discipline), and Jason Kirkpatrick and Alice Hickson having won best newcomer at the National Pool championships in March at the Great Northern.
But no one could have predicted that a 25-year-old, Swim Coach and Occupational Therapist, who had been freediving 8 months and this just her second competition, would break three national records, win a gold and bronze medal and become a World Champion! But this is exactly what Alice Hickson did with ease, grace and humbleness.
On day one Alice came out and performed like a professional, breaking the UK national record in dynamic no fins (DNF) by swimming 153m (the previous record was 145m set by Rebecca Coales) and securing herself a place in the A-Finals. In the A-Finals Alice continued to impress by adding almost an entire length onto her previous performance, 21m to be exact, and coming up clean and strong at 174m; winning her a second national record, a gold medal and the title World Champion.
It was in static (STA) that Alice went on to win her bronze medal. In the qualifying heats, despite the challenging cold conditions, which put a number of other athletes off, she held her breath for 05:58. In the finals she increased her time to 06:58 and broke her third national record. Georgina Miller had set the previous static national record at 06:33 at the Great Northern on 22 March this year.
There were some strong performances from other members of Team GB, with Georgina Miller qualifying for the STA A-Finals and now ranking number 7 in the World. Shirley Turner and Adam Drzazga made the STA B-Finals and rank number 10 and 11 in the World. Beci Ryan qualified for the DNF and STA B-Finals. Lucelle Simms narrowly missed out on the DYN finals with a solid 166m swim. Jason Kirkpatrick at his first World Championships and his second ever competition did brilliantly, his performance in DYN was impressive, swimming 124m in bi-fins, not an easy feat.
With the Pool World Championship over, we now look forward to the AIDA Depth World Championships in Limassol, Cyprus. The UK Team and sponsors will be announced very soon, so watch this space!