Special guests in Berlin at the Long Night of Apnea

It was a very welcome surprise when I got the email four days before the competition. Sevens athletes from Venezuela where asking whether they could still sign up for the LNA. I forwarded the mail and was assuming they were on a round trip or coming through Germany on their way back from the World Championship in Egypt or something like that.

But NO! These guys came just for this one competition! So from now on it will be difficult to say "Yeah, I would love to come but it's just too far away"...


10th Long Night of Apnea in Berlin

At last, all that training was worth it.

Last weekend was the 10th time that the Long Night of Apnea took place here in Berlin and I had a wonderful competition with two new PBs and a little red card.

It started all really well. I did not train static at all during the last weeks and so I did not put too much stress in there. Announced 2 min and told Elisabeth, who was coaching me, to give me a two minutes count down after my first contraction. So I did an easy 3'55" dive.

Then came dynamic. I was very well prepared. I was doing my stretching and I was relaxing and I pictured the dive again and again. My aim was to make the turn at 100m for the first time in my life.

I did a quite nice 100m dive in training but then ceased doing max dives during training and kept at my strict technique training.

Two minutes to official top (OT) the judges are still discussing things with the previous athlete at the other end of the 50m pool. I am focused. My dive is all I care about.

One minute thirty to OT the judges are still down the hall. The speaker is calling them back to the competition zone. I am focused. It will be their fault and the dive is all I care about.

one minute to OT, the judges and cameramen are still down there. The speaker is getting anxious and calls them again. I am focused and care only about the dive.

Thirty seconds to OT. Other athletes are getting aware of the problem and go to fetch them for me (thank you Daan!). I start my last breath.

OT - and here we go. The first kicks are reassuring. Everything works as normal. My eyes are fixed on the blue line on the bottom but I am looking inside to feel the right movement. For the first time I start enjoying the swinging rhythm. Then there is the turn. It is interrupting me a bit but after I kick off I soon get back into that wonderful state of mind. When I passed 75m I was not even thinking about the distance. I was just thinking about my movement. I'm slowing down. I'll need the oxygen in my head. Then I hear the ringing sound. Elisabeth is signaling me. The 100m will soon be over. There comes the T and I know I have to stretch out my right arm for the turn. There is not even a question about it. I turn, kick off and the second signal tells me I passed 106m. But I am still swinging and so i do another kick and then one more and then I'm thinking to myself, this is enough. I surface and I am careful to come out with my head first and then grab the edge.

I take off my goggles, take off my nose clip and I look back at the wall. It looks far away. I give the OK signal and I say "OK". The second I heard it I said "I am OK" without breathing again. But it was too late then. The protocol says I need to say "I am OK" right after the signal. Anything else will result in a red card, a disqualification. I know that and Ute knows that and so I'm not surprised. But my safety divers were surprised and Elisabeth was because they said I was crystal clear. Only a bit curious about where I ended up. Maybe a bit too curious. I did not focus on the protocol because the dive was all I cared about. And after the card, all I wanted to know was where I was. I was 110 meter away from where I started. For the first time in my life I turned at 100m and from now on I will have another 50m before me to keep swinging.

After a nice break I started as one of the first to go on the 16 x 50m discipline. I started with a 1'20" rhythm. I am diving about 35" and then breath for about 45" and go again. After the 6th lane I did not feel so good. It is a psychological thing. It's the first time you feel your body getting tired and it is so much more lanes ahead then there are behind. But I found back into my little mantra. I was thinking about the technique and tried to dive with as little effort as possible. Elisabeth was coaching me again and that was very good. When she told me the time after lane #15 I thought she was making a mistake. She said it was a bit past 19' so I took a quick deep breath and sped down the pool. I came out 19'50". That is 4 minutes better than last year.

I can’t wait for the next competition to come.


More mermaid pictures

Ok, you want more mermaid pictures? Here is one of my favorites.

This photo I took with my mobile phone just when she came out of her Silver medal winning 174m dive. I am so proud!


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