Surprise visit at the 4th Dutch Open

I always said, if you are a freediver and there is a freedive competition within your reach, there is no question. You must go and you must and you must compete.

Why? Simply because there aren’t enough opportunities for meeting with all those cool but crazy people that I now call my friends.

That being said, there seemed to be no real chance for me to go and do just that at the 4th Dutch Apnea Open. For one I had just been forced to quit competing at the Long Night of Apnea due to a cold that lasted the past three weeks. Second, Eindhoven is not really around the corner but rather far to the west and I had committed to meet with the board of AIDA Germany that Saturday. Last, but not least, Elisabeth did not plan to go anyways…

But then… things changed. First, Elisabeth decided to jump in a ancient car that was supposed to carry her and a bunch of Danish freedivers to Eindhoven but broke down about 100 km from the target. When I sat on the plain going to Düsseldorf it dawned on me that I was going quite a bit west. I checked the competition schedule and realized that they did not compete until Sunday morning. Checking train schedules I then saw that it would only take two hours to get to Eindhoven and since my plain back to Berlin would not leave until 3 pm… I started thinking and calculating…

At 6:35 I was on the train to arrive in Eindhoven at 9:00 am. I caught a cab to take me to the pool where I arrived about 9:15 am to be greeted by many of the above mentioned folks. Some thought it quite natural to see me there, some asked why they had not seen me on the in-list, some asked whether I was judging… it made me feel real good. Surprising Elisabeth was one of the coolest things I have ever done.

She was paying me back by doing a 5:02 min STA dive (me coaching) and later 136m DYN which was winning the competition. Makes me very proud!

Seeing the pool was great. I would have been even more impressed by it would we not have a pool of the exact dimensions here in Berlin. I remember what it was like to go in there for the first time. When a 50m lane is looking small and you start doubting it actually is 50m because the structure of the building is scaling it down… what a place to have a competition!

It was great seeing everyone there. Even when I was under stress to get catch a taxi at 11:30 to be back on the train at 12:02 and back in Düsseldorf at 14:08 and at the airport at 14:25 to catch the plain at 15:15 pm. But it was all worth it…

PS: Yes, Pim, I will do everything to make sure I can come back next year. You just make sure it is not so close to the LNA again... ;)

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