Meet the Athletes from the British Freediving Association

2016 AIDA TEAM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Kalamata, Greece September 2016

Team GB: Adam Drzazga, Georgina Miller, Tim Money, Beci Ryan + Carl Atkisons and Adam Mustoe - Photos by Daan Verhoeven

BFA Freedivers Greece 2016 1

BFA Freedivers Greece 2016 2

BFA Freedivers Greece 2016 3

BFA Team GB Girls Greece 2016

BFA Team GB Guys Greece 2016

2016 AIDA POOL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Turku, Finland, June 2016

Team GB: Alice Hickson, Amy Hickson, Georgina Miller, Lucelle Simms, Philip Fennell, Mark Gooding, Andy Jardine (Coach), Kate Jardin - Photos by Daan Verhoeven

BFA Freedivers Finland 2016 1

BFA Freedivers Finland 2016 2

BFA Freedivers Finland 2016 3

Team GB coach Andy Jardine

Team GB Lucelle Simms

Team GB Andy Jardine and Philip Fennell

2015 AIDA POOL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - Meet the Freedivers...

ADAM DRZAZGA - Competitive Freediver, Aida instructor and Judge, Chairman of the British Freediving Association

Adam Drzazga 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

I experienced my first taste of freediving years back when on holiday in Jamaica diving in rivers and sea with the local spearos. The simplicity, purity and this unique freedom of the sport made it a very interesting new adventure. From that time I've dived thousands of times, learned new things, discovered new places, explored my mind & body and met some of the best people in my life. It has been a journey I'd love to continue to the end of my life. 

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

Freediving has become a way of life and it is now a part of me and our family life. Training has become such a big part of my life that I feel bad when I'm not training. Training can be a real pleasure but also a real pain - however, at the end of the working day and 2 hrs of hard training after, I feel more alive that ever, both mentally and physically. I can honestly say that I'm 100% addicted to freediving and it makes me a happy person.

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

In my years of freediving and competing I realised that one should not fight the stress but accept it and use it to their advantage - "if you cannot change it ride with it”. In my personal experience I like to mentally "dive my dive" before I actually do it. I visualise the performance, every meter of it, the push from the wall, the struggle phase, right through the moment of pain and then the moment I surface, the moment when I take that first breath of air. Together with breathing techniques and relaxation of my mind & body I'm able to relax to almost a state of sleep. The beauty of it is that, as soon as you're underwater, all the worries and stress wash away and journey begins. 

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

If you want to discover yourself and who you are, freediving will take you on a life long journey full of discoveries, adventures and feelings that you will remember to the end of your days. "Today you start your journey tomorrow begins your adventure"

 

ALICE HICKSON - Competitive Freediver - 2015 DNF World Champion & UK Record Holder

Alice Hickson 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

Since seeing people freediving on TV when I was little (age 10) I thought "I want to do that". Then last year I discovered Bristol Free Divers who I joined after completing my AIDA 2* course.

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

Complete freedom in the water, with unknown limits. I feel complete tranquility underwater, I forget everything and just feel complete. It also means family, banter and a whole lot a love! 

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

Right before a dive I like to listen to some tunes whilst laid like a starfish on my back smiling like a Cheshire Cat excited for my swim, thinking of all the beautiful things in my life :) 

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

Do it! Find somewhere you can complete an accredited beginners course so you learn the basics and about safety then relax, take a big breathe and submerge! Oh, and enjoy it!  

 

BECI RYAN - Competitive Freediver

Beci Ryan (first on left) 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

I started freediving in 2012 with Liv Philip at the London Freediving club in Richmond. 

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

It's hard to explain!  I think overall it means calmness.  I love the feeling of weightlessness, of gliding through the water a bit like flying and the change in sound when you submerge.  It also means having fun and playing around under the water. 

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

I like to do some stretching as I find this calms me.  I also spend some time just being still and concentrating on my breathing, this really helps if I'm nervous.  Being around friends helps too. 

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

I'd advise them to find a good instructor or club and do an introduction to feediving course, this is what I did and you learn a lot without feeling any pressure, it's not about performance, it's just a really lovely way to get a feel for what it's about.  You can find a list of affiliate clubs by visiting the British Freediving Association's website (link at the bottom of this page).

 

GEORGINA MILLER - Competitive Freediver

Georgina Miller 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

I used to teach scuba and saw a lady free diving on a deep wreck while we were blowing bubbles and thought - yeah! I want to do that!

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

Friends, community, freedom, peace, having fun, hanging out in the blue with people I love.

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

I like to listen to music, be around good people, think about my dogs, generally just concentrating on the positives and remind my self not to take it too seriously.

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

Always seek instruction from a qualified professional, never freedive alone. Free diving is not a solitary sport, we need to keep each other safe.

 

JASON KIRKPATRICK  - Competitive Freediver

Jason Kirkpatrick 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

When I was younger I saw a freediver hold his breath for over 7 minutes on TV. I was amazed that anyone could do that! Since then it was my dream to be a freediver. As soon as I was near a club I joined and now I'm hooked!

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

When I am under water, holding my breath, everything is peaceful and I am concentrating on that precise moment in time. The rest of the world disappears. It means relaxation, listening to and learning about my body and forgetting about all the stresses in life. 

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

I like to do some gentle stretching then lie down somewhere quiet and listen to music. It's best not to eat much before diving so I think about the food I'm going to enjoy afterwards!

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

Find a club and instructor, do a beginners course to get a feel for it and learn about the safety aspects. Get in touch with freedivers in your area. There is a great community in freediving, the people are really nice and always welcome newcomers. It's important to have diving buddies because you should never dive alone.

Always seek instruction from a qualified professional, never freedive alone. Free diving is not a solitary sport, we need to keep each other safe.

 

LUCELLE SIMMS - Competitive Freediver

Lucelle Simms 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

I was looking for a different ways to stay fit that didn't involve just going to the gym or running and I've always loved the ocean and calmness of being under water so I was very happy to find out there was a freediving club near my house in London! I only wish I'd found it years earlier!!

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

Freediving has become a huge part of my life - whenever I travel the first thing I always wonder about is whether there's anywhere to dive (which can be very frustrating for my family), I've picked up a whole new set of like-minded friends along the way and the added bonus is that I end up being fitter and healthier than ever whilst doing something I enjoy. 

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

I do a series of gentle yoga stretches, a short meditation and listen to music - I do get very nervous before a competition, but the combination of these three things helps me to focus my energy on the task at hand.

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

I would say to just do it!! Go with the intention of having fun and you will learn new things about yourself - I think anyone can get something out of it and I love seeing new people come to a club session, nervous at first, but leaving afterwards with a big smile on their face and asking when they can do it again! 

 

SHIRLEY TURNER - Competitive Freediver

Shirley Turner 2015

HOW DID YOU START FREEDIVING?

Having seen someone freediving with whales in a wildlife documentary when I was aged 11, I decided to train myself. As a competitive swimmer at school, I was confident in the water and loved being in the water but it wasn’t until 2011 when I met Adam Drzazga and after the birth of our son Tiger in 2012 that was finally able to officially take up freediving. My training began in 2013 and so I picked up a dream I had discovered 22 years before!

WHAT DOES FREEDIVING MEAN TO YOU?

It means I'm one step closer to my life long dream of freediving with sharks. It may be years before I ever get to do that but I know now that I have a better chance at it. I'd love to use my freediving skills to help in someway to protect and make a positive difference in marine conservation.

HOW DO YOU RELAX BEFORE A COMPETITION?

Before competitions, I have to remind myself that the day to day stress does not need to matter. I walk through my dive, visualising each fin kick or arm pull. Then I stretch until I feel my joints loosen up, my muscles stretched and oxygenated. Then I go find a comfortable place to lie down, not minding the noises of the competition around me, complete a few dry breath holds and then just relax, often falling asleep. 

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START FREEDIVING?

I'd most certainly point them in the direction of The British Freediving Association, where they can select their nearest club, be directed to their nearest instructor or get answers from experienced freedivers, I'd not encourage any self taught methods.

 

BFA 2015 Pool Team

 

LEARN TO FREEDIVE...www.britishfreediving.org