Last night I was out for training in the Tongelreep and Kostas was also training with me. Along the way of explaining the prerequisites for a DNF freedive to Kostas, I hit the topic of checking out balance and alignment under water. I had been analyzing the balance of YugYug in earlier training sessions and Jorg had been spotting mine a long time ago. It reminded me that if you want to have a good alignment for your DNF freedive you’ll have to test certain things before you can find your perfect alignment.
Balance and alignment all originate from the buoyancy you have whilst freediving at a certain depth, with a certain are intake. To find your balance and alignment underwater the altitude and air intake are the parameters you can play with.
The buoyancy is a very important part, if you don’t want to become a jig-saw DNF swimmer that is. A jig-saw DNF originates by the fact your buoyancy is positive or negative, which will make you ascend or descend. A normal respond to this is to help yourself is by swimming down or up when you make the arm-stroke. But again you’ll ascend or descend and this will lead to the jig-saw movement when you look at it from the side.
To counter-act this behavior you must play around with the altitude and air intake, to find a point where you’re neutral or slightly buoyant. A great exercise for this is to push-off from the wall and see how far you can float, whilst doing so you can check if you ascend, descend or remain neutral. Before even making any neck-weights, you want to see if you can vary any of the parameters to help you find the buoyancy you need.
If you’re in the position where you normally would swim at 1,5m depth, but the pool itself is 3m deep. Try and drop down to 3 meters deep and prepare for a push off from the wall at that depth. Once you made the push-off, just let yourself glide until you are completely stopped. If varying the depth isn’t helping you to stay at 3 meters deep, you’ll have to change the air intake.
This relates to how much air you take in before starting your DNF freedive. As a lower air intake will result in less buoyany, try and do a DNF freedive at 3m’s deep with a neutral air intake. If you still float up, try with a smaller ammount of air intake, but most definately you’ll find that a neutral air intake should already be pretty close to finding your neutral buoyancy.
Varying with both of these parameters will result in a perfect way to find out, how a good balanced DNF should feel like. When you know how it should feel, the freedive itself will feel totally different. You no longer have to swim down or up, so now you can fine-tune your DNF freedive by paying attention to other aspects i.e. streamlining. In the end variation with the altitude and air intake will help you in making the neck-weight, waist-weight, etc. to suit your needs. Every freediver has a different body composure, thus a different setup is required as well.
Most importantly to all of the information described is a good spotter, with preferably an underwater camera to aid in your goal of finding a good balance and alignment.
Good luck on finding your balance and alignment and if you have some other tips or remarks, be sure to comment about them.