Geneva, my love...

One of the good things when attending freediving competitions is that you meet a lot of friendly people and very often you hear them saying things like "...hey, you should come to our competition..." or "...yeah, and you can stay in my place..." and usually you would be thankful but not take advantage of the offer.

Well, this time, I did. And it was great! Geneva is a lovely city, easyjet is getting me there cheep and Cedric is an absolutely wonderful host! Thanks man!

On my last comp in Berlin I decided I need to get away from too many people that know me. It is just too distracting some time to welcome everyone and have a small chat. Then again, you meet a lot of the "usual suspects" and it's part of the thing to be in this community of people with that really strange hobby.

And so it was that I felt very comfortable in a strange place with a lot of familiar faces around me. Far away and yet so close.

I did not really bother me that easyjet lost my monofin on the way because Joachim was willing to lend me his old Waterway (same model as mine). He is such a great guy! Even the fact that the organization , by mistake, took my personal best's as my announced performance did not put me off. In fact, I was enjoying coming in late and having all the time I want for preparation.

That led to a wonderful start with a personal best in DNF of 68m. 6 meters more then I had done before. I must admit that this was the discipline I was focusing on most. For one because it was a 25 m pool and at home we only have a 50m pool for the competition so I will never ever do DNF in competition there.

The STA did not go so well. I was trying a dry preparation as the static competition was in the same pool as the dynamic (they can lift the bottom of the pool from 1,90 m to 1,20m!!!) and the water was really cold. After freezing my ass off in Copenhagen last year, I did not want to get in the water for any preparation dives. And that did not work.

My DNY in 25 always sucks. I did the third turn as I had sworn to myself to do but then I was really fed up with it. I used to think the number of turns is the reason behind that but it's not. I like turns. I'm actually good in it. I just don't find the time to get into my rhythm in a 25m pool. I kick off and after a couple of kicks that go soso, I find it and... have to turn. I kick off again and the feeling is gone. In a 50m pool I feel I have much more time to find the nice water feeling I need.

So there is one more thing to work on. Get that feeling after the first kick.

Before traveling back I took the time to spend a day in town walking around sightseeing and having fun and then I saw him. The highest mountain of western Europe. The white mountain, Mont Blanc. And it was calling me. I swear, it’s true. So next year, I’ll be back. And I’ll bring not just dive gear then.


Difficult decitson to make

Looking back at the last year there where some very cheerfull moments and also some quite doulbtfull ones. Here is one that I kept thinking about for quite some time.

At the Rhein Main Cup (RMC) I was judgung both static and dynamic dives. On the picture above you see me giving a red card to an athlet after he had completet what could only be called a perfect dive. How did that happen?

Well, at the world championship in Maribor, weher I had my judge cours, it was striktey forbidden to enter the zone where the judges where without stating that you where the official coach. The same was the case in Lysekil during the Nordic Deep where I earned my first experiance as a judge. The penalty for a violation was disqualification.

While I am waching the athlete prepare for his dive, a man with a camera appeares next to me and I ask him "are you the official coach?". He says "No!" and so I ask him to step accross the line and give room for the two judges and the two official camera men. The dive starts and I focus fully on following the athlete.

Right after he surfaced after a personal best a man jumps at my side and starts shouting what could only be interpreted as coaching. I focus on the athlete, his SP is well in the 15s and he has no problems keeping himself above the surface. He is all clear and smiling. His 30s are over now.

I get up and look at the coach and ask him who he was and wher in the world he came from. He dose not understand my agitation.

I look back at the athlete. He has been waiting way too long for his card by now. And so I give him a red card. I call him to me and explain the situation. I tell him his dive was perfect and we would review the case and he would have the chance to protest the judgement.

When we had a break, all the judges where reviewing the rules with the result that there is no such rule for dynamic and since we did not state the necessity to state the official coach in the briefing before the competition we all decided to turn the red card into a white.

I very much welcomed that decision and went to tell the athlete myself.

But I did use the protest as a joker to cover my own doubt as we where told on the judge course and that might have destroyed a part of the fun of it. 30s is not much time to make a decision some times and it is quite easy to get mixed up.

I hope with more experiance I will not come to such a situation again. But when in doubt, I might do the same.

What do you think?