Picture Credit: Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)
Thursday 26 March 2015; — On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March, the 6th Great Northern International and the BFA UK National Pool Championships, organised by Steve Millard of www.freedivers.co.uk was held at Lifestyle Fitness Aquatic Centre in Liverpool
The Great Northern never disappoints in terms of performance and this
year was no different. Living up to the International bit of the title, fourteen countries were represented, with one athlete, from team USA, Mandy Sumner flying in from Hawaii the night before the competition! Keeping to tradition, national records were set, this year both British, over the course of the weekend. On day one, John Moorcroft, the first diver of the day, kick started the competition with a record in dynamic no fins of 176m and on day two, Georgina Miller set her record in static with 6 minutes and 33 seconds. John swam just over 7 lengths of a 25m pool on one breath with no fins, smashing his previous record of 167m, set at last year’s competition. Georgina Miller’s previous record was 6 minutes and 27 seconds set in 2014 at the 7th Mediterranean Freediving World Cup, and she pushed it a further 6 seconds away.
The UK male winner was Dan Betts with three strong performances, white cards and big smile at the end: 115m DNF, 05:39 STA and 151 DYN. Coming in second for the Brits was Josh Walton of Bristol Freedivers and in third Jason Kirkpatrick from the Glasgow Apneists UK group. In first place for International male Matej Bergoc of Slovenia with incredible holds: 140 DNF, 07:07 STA and 183 DYN, in second Stephan Heiss and in third David Fournier.
The UK female winner was Beci Ryan with 135m DNF, 05:12 STA and 150 DYN, in second Georgina Miller and in third Lucelle Simms. And Masa Sorn also of Slovenia, training with Apneists UK Yorkshire group, came in second place for International female with three strong performances (104 DNF, 04:46 STA, 150 DYN).
The winners of the Newbie Awards were Jason Kirkpatrick (05:17 STA) and Alison Hicks (151 DYN), with already impressively big holds and swims and a lot of promise for the future. Rumour has it that both athletes look set to join the UK Team at the Pool World Championships in Serbia!
The Great Northern is a competition that celebrates achievements across the board, it recognizes that freediving is not always about numbers and times but about personal achievements and obstacles overcome. The sense of atmosphere at this year’s competition spoke volumes, with athletes from clubs all over the UK and indeed the world, coaching, congratulating and celebrating personal bests with genuine enthusiasm.
Thank you to the sponsors for their support with such generous top freediving prizes, the helpers who made it so special, the judges, safety team and the athletes for attending otherwise it couldn’t have happened. The official kit sponsors were: Aqua Sphere (www.aquasphereswim.com/uk/) and Aqua Lung (www.aqualung.com/uk/), with sponsorship also coming from Fins4u (www.fins4u.com), Tidy Tide (www.free-water.org), and the British Freediving Association (www.britishfreediving.org). For a list of sponsors please visit http://www.freedivingcompetition.com/gn-sponsors-2015.html