Freediving Course - Day 2 - Poolsession (Eva)
In short: I love Static!!
Static training in the pool
Today we drove for our first static session to a public swimming pool in Añaza, about 10 minutes away from Radazul. I would have rather jumped into the sea again. I’m not a fan of natatoriums and hanging with my head in the water without moving didn’t seem very attractive to me either. At the same time I was curious what it would feel like.
The typical swimming pool atmosphere welcomed us. A few retirees hung in front of the massage jets in the warm water pool and chatted. The smell of chlorine hung in the air. In the swimmer’s pool opposite some athletes tirelessly did their laps.
Dunia divided the group. While Jens was to heading off to the swimmer’s pool for practicing dynamic apnea with two other participants, we entered the little warm water pool with the gabbling pensioners. Dunia explained the procedure at the static training and gave us the advice to beam ourselves mentally to another place while holding our breath. Or to occupy our mind with a task - planning a meal, writing a shopping list, having a notional conversation with a friend.
Then it was: off to apnea mode. Staying with yourself only. Blank out the others. Dunia was with us with full attention and would prevent us from drifting into any corner of the pool. So it was easy to give up control. When I let myself fall into the smooth movements of the water I felt deep relaxation. I was delighted. I had no desire to beam me mentally out of the situation in order to forget that I’m holding my breath. At least for the first few minutes it was much more pleasant for me to focus my awareness on my body and let go even more when I discovered a residual tension in one part of my body.
So I hung around at the edge of the pool, waiting for the first contraction, the movement of the diaphragm, after which we were supposed to finish our first attempt. No contraction. That was confusing because in the sea I always have contractions quite early. The breathing stimulus increased and became more and more urgent, but - no contraction. In the second round I also waited for contractions in vain. What was going on? I thought these involuntary movements were part of the game? Or did I stay far below my limit and therefore it was just too early for contractions? But my need to breathe was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. On the third try finally the first contraction appeared. Later I was told that I kept up about one minute more and so I ended my first static session with 4:04 minutes.
The result surprised me. And of course I was happy. Because it broke through a border in my head. So far my apnea performance in dry conditions had been extremely different from that in water. I had already built up the feeling that I experienced the opposite of the diving reflex: water would not make it easier to hold my breath, but rather more difficult - possibly because feeling at the mercy of the unpredictable sea. But during this static session the water felt like a friendly support, a benevolent, relaxing environment. Of course I know that it will be different with “real diving” - I don’t just have to lift my head to breathe again. And there is no buddy right next to me all the time monitoring every movement. But I also know that from now on I will trust myself much more under water.
getting more dynamic
After the static training we changed the pool for dynamic apnea. Youssef showed us how to start, turn and reappear. Here we go, practicing the turn. One hand glides the last meters over the ground, the other pushes off at the edge of the pool. I’m having trouble coordinating. Besides, I always scrape along the track just above the ground. Too much lead? No, it’s more about the technique, says Youssef. If I tuck my head too tightly to my chest, I get too deep with my body. Another second and third attempt. A bit better, but I feel extremely clumsy and consume a lot of energy and oxygen when turning. My fin stroke is too short and my coordination under water still needs a lot of attention. That’s why in the first training session I can’t get any further than just under 50m. I think once I have mastered the technique, dynamic will also be a lot of fun for me. Until then it‘s practice, practice, practice.