Tag Archives: DNF

My ideas to solve the neck weight problem

This is the second article in a series about finding a better design for the weight needed in a dynamic pool freediving performance. The first article focussed on my discomforts and dislikings about the current design, which I blindly followed when I first started freediving. This article will focus on the way I intend to solve these problems into new solution and the design around it. In the 3rd article I will focus on the testing we’ve done so far with different setups, to see if they actually solve my problems. The 4th article will show how the design evolved through time by incorporating our findings from the test phases. Finally in the 5th article I hope to present a solution with an easy design, so other freedivers can try and build/buy one of their own and see if they benefit from it as much as I do.

Weight placement
To solve the weight placement, I chose to locate the weight around the lung area. It’s a bit of a tricky location and might be disadvantageous due to the flexing of the chest when inhaling and exhaling. Only tests will find out if I find this comfortable or not and if it doesn’t effect my normal breath-up.

Balancing
One of the solutions for unbalanced tilting that caught my eye is already widely used in the shipbuilding industry and is called a keel. The principle behind this solution is to spread the center of gravity, by placing a weight below the structural keel. For ships the use of a keel brings stability and improves the directional movement of the ship. My interest lies with the stability problem it solves; when a sail ship is sailing, the wind will make it tilt, the keel will counter act this by it’s weight. That’s exactly the behavior I want my prototype to have when I’m doing a dynamic performance. So when I tilt over, due to a slightly rotated push-off while turning, the weight underneath the chest will be counteracting this and ensure my alignment in the horizontal plane. So from the balance point of view it is best to place the weight underneath the body, or at least on the lowest point of the chest.

Optimal arm placement
In the 2 preceding points I opted for the placement of the weight around the lung area and at the lowest point of the chest in the water. This will solve my discomfort and inability to fully stretch the arms over my head as well. Because the area around my neck will be clear of any objects what so ever. Ofcourse the question remains; “Will the new weight placement introduce a new discomfort or is it easier to live with?”.

Commence the Testing
As we’re already testing and have been testing with a few different setups, I’m going to continue to test for a while longer to see if he new approach really brings what it should. I will report about my findings in a 3rd article as soon as I think it’s a good point in time to share it with you all. I’ve already shared some insight from my setup through pictures, but my experience still needs to increase a little more to share. How would you like to see the solution tested in comparison to the neck weight? Please leave your ideas in the comments and I’ll see if I can include this in the tests.

5kg in a vest to go under a blue seventy suit5kg vest under the blue seventy freediving suit

PS. Current design lacks the safety feature, so I cannot compare this in the tests.

Why I think the neck weight solution is wrong

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This is the first article in a series about finding a better design for the weight needed in a dynamic pool freediving performance. This article focusses on my discomforts and dislikings about the current design, which I blindly followed when I first started freediving. The next article in the series will focus on the way I intend to solve these problems into a new solution and the design around it. In the 3rd article I will focus on the testing we’ve done so far with different setups, to see if they actually solve my problems. The 4th article will show how the design evolved through time by incorporating our findings in the test phases. Finally in the 5th article I hope to present a solution with an easy design, so other freedivers can try and build one of their own and see if they benefit from it as much as I do.

The prototype I had recently tested, started out with an idea to get rid of my discomfort in wearing a weight belt around my neck. There are a few reasons why I dislike the neck-weight solution; Continue reading Why I think the neck weight solution is wrong

My Video’s from the Liege competition

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Last night I edited the video material we shot at the Liege competition last weekend.

The first video is Dynamic with Fins (DYN), a first timer for me at a competition to use a monofin.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdQLV4OEyHw

The second video is Dynamic No fins (DNF), especially focussed on technique and minimal amount of strokes to reach 25 meters.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxfhfGWE-7Q

Although my mission was to reach the 25 meters in 2 strokes, the positive buoyancy made it harder to accomplish. I took 2,5 strokes for 25 meters, but the speed is still at the level I like it to be.

Enjoy the videos.

Time for a change: Testing at Liège competition

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Since I made a good comeback last month in the Wiesbaden competition, I have been training with a few different things. Yesterday – Sunday 25th of october – I competed in the competition in Liège, Belgium, amongst a whole bunch of fellow Dutch freedivers. It was nice to meet up with all dutch freedivers again, met a few freshly trained freedivers as well. Good to know the dutch competition interest is still around!

It was the perfect time and place to give my change of training methods a better test, as in Wiesbaden I was more focussed on proving myself I was able to do solid performances.

Dynamic with Monofin

Getting ready for the turn
Getting ready for the turn

The major change in dynamic with fins for me was to go for monofin. I have been training with it, but never did a competition with it. In training, my technique has been far from good and that might have been a reason as well to never show it to anyone else in a competition ;). But as we’re trying to change some things over time, It was a “What the heck” moment which made me decide to just do it!

Preparing myself for a push off in a 1m 25cm deep pool at one side (2m 15cm at the other end), I was surprised to see that the push off was fairly good. I had trouble finding the rythm and balance, but after lane one I was up for a turn. I remembered Pim pointing out in the briefing that there was a ledge of 10cm’s, so reminded myself last minute “Ow yeah, touch above the ledge!”. So I swam up a bit and made proper turn, trying to find balance and rythm yet again. On to the ‘harder’ turn at the shallow part of the pool, all the way there I visualized how I would try and make a flat turn, which I managed to do fairly well. But after the push-off the wall, I drifted sideways and my balance was kinda not there anymore. On my way to the 75m, I decided to call it a day as my technique is still failing me to make it a relaxed and easy run. Although I wasn’t out of breath, I think it was a good thing to make 75 meter my first monofin personal best 😉

Dynamic without fins: 2 strokes or …
20091025-Liege-DNF-01My mission for DNF was to try and make it across the pool in 2 strokes, which I had been training in the Tongelreep last Thursday. After the start I felt that the somewhat shallow pool made it harder to be properly balanced and I felt my legs drifting upwards. At the 2 strokes mark, I did not make it far enough to just glide the last bit so had to make an arm stroke to get there. The way back to 50m’s was no different and after the turn at 50 it became more vital to pay attention to technique. Because I had been focussing on that quite a lot lately, I found that holding my hands flat on my legs after the arm stroke did help in gliding further. So on my way to 75m’s I usually feel myself getting a bit sloppy on technique, so I put in the extra effort to keep the technique on a good level. All the way to 75m’s my technique was proper and it all felt good. I decided to make a turn and push off the wall and resurface. Immediately after I surfaced, the safety guy gave me the resting board and I made a clean surface protocol. A training in a training to be honest, as the line wasn’t strong enough to support a freediver hanging on it, I decided to try the board for a change at the deeper part of the pool.

Concluding
All in all this was a super training session, I learned a lot from my efforts that day. Dynamic with monofin was far from perfect, but did taste like I could do more. Also on DNF I made progress, but need to have more neckweights to be able to work with different pools.

Another lesson I learned and put to practice really well was the fact I was happy with a 4 minute 20 seconds static. With most people whom I explain this to it’s an eye-brow raiser, but this is where I am at for the moment. I need to have fun in freediving and anything more the 3 minute 30 seconds was good for today, so I’m happy with it!

At the end of the day I borrowed Daan’s monofin for a quick test. Did 50 meters with it on my normal style, which already felt so much better than my own monofin. After that Daan and Jorg asked me to try the kick-kick-glide technique and that went surprisingly well. Made to the 25m’s in 3 kick-kick-glide’s which Daan explained was a good tempo. So to get back on a comment I got from Eric van Riet Paap on facebook, yes I will be switching to monofin for now and really would like to get a glide monofin.

20091025-Liege-FB-01

This all sure taste’s like more and gives me some new opbjectives and new energy to train hard! Most importantly I had a lot of fun at a freediving competition.

The number 23 | Section 2: Pyramid, Alignment & Technique

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Pyramid
I just finished a great Pyramid schedule, which was built up for 40 meter lanes:

Qty x Distance [m] | Start every [mm:ss]

  • 3 x 40 m | 01:50
  • 3 x 40 m | 01:35
  • 3 x 40 m | 01:20
  • 2 x 40 m | 01:10

It proved to be a harder schedule as I thought. I just couldn’t get lower than the 1 minute 35 seconds » thus I finished the rest of the lanes with starting every 1 minute 35 seconds.

Alignment

My Current 800 grams Neckweight
My Current 800 grams Neckweight

Halfway into the second part of my 23 schedule, I have had a more technical and oberservative character. Continuing with my effort in getting my alignment right, it seems I’ve been way off for a while now. I’m currently swimming with only 800 grams neckweight, goggles and a swimtrunk. Last week when I visitid Eric in Zeist, I tried to add 500 grams, which already felt better. But last Thursday when Jorg and I were analyzing my alignment in the way I was describing it on this website, we actually found out I wasn’t aligned all that well 😮

These conclusions were made after seeing the video material shot during the training, which clearly indicate that I’m highyl buoyant and will surface like a float on a fishing rod. The reason I believe we didn’t spot this over the years, is due to the higher speed (~ 1m/s) I’m using whilst executing my DNF’s.

I’ve added a goal for this week, which is; getting the alignment right. Our first guess as to what additional weight should be placed around my neck, would be in the range of 2 – 2,5 kilograms. Hopefully we’ll have this settled on Thursday during the pool session.

Technique

Arms stretched BAD
Arms stretched BAD
Arms stretched OK
Arms stretched OK

Another strange phenomenon I’ve had in my technique, seems to be easily repaired by crossing my arms the otherway. The way I’m doing it now, causes my left arm to stay a little bend, while the other arm is fully stretched. As Jorg had spotted it again last Thursday in the Tongelreep, he had a good thought about it to just change the arm which rests on top. This seems to get rid of the bend in my left arm, so I’ll be focussing on getting this into my technique the coming weeks.

The Number 23 | Section 1: Successful

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Tuesday evening I had planned my goal realization for Section 1 to take place at the pool in Zeist, where I was able to train with Eric van Riet Paap, Danny Martherus and Jouke van Riel.

2009-RMC-the-number-23It is a good pool featuring a small area, shallow depth and 27 degrees water, which made it perfect for static. Danny and Jouke started with their static CO2 tables, almost not getting distracted by my GoPro bottom camera ;). Eric and I teamed up for a static session, starting out with a small empty lungs of a minute. After that I did my first real static since a long while and it actually felt quite good. I didn’t really give Eric a chance when I aborted my mission and directly surfaced, only to find out I was 35 seconds away of my goal. So, lesson learned and made a deal with Eric that whenever I wanted to know the time I would ask and after that I would hold for at least two additional safety taps. Going into my second attempt, I felt really relaxed and didn’t start having trouble until 4 minutes 15 seconds. After that I heard Eric telling me that 5 minutes was also a good point for me to focus on and I continued to relax. At 5 minutes and 3 seconds I decided that I reached my training goal and that gave me a fantastic overall feeling. As a side note for myself, this is actually the time I should start the real fight phase.

Eric and I swopped places and he started his static session. As he’s adapting a new technique, which includes shallow breathing through the snorkel, Eric does some very impressive empty lung statics. Ranging from 2 minutes to 2 minutes 30 seconds, but he told me 3 minutes 30 seconds is his best in empty lungs. Now it was time for him to test his packing through a snorkel technique and went for a full lungs static. Looking fairly easy and relaxed all the way, somewhere around 5 minutes contractions seem to have kicked in. I reassured him with the time and he totally relaxed, arms of the ledge and on a mission to 6 minutes 4 seconds. Good static!

Next up was my goal in Dynamic No Fins with a goal of 80 meters. I got ready prepared my goggles and neck weight and entered the water, I added an addition weight around my waist of 0,5 kilograms. After a good start, I was nearing the 50 meters and my mind was ready to give up on me. But I felt strong after my good static time, which convinced me to continue. After turning at 50 meters, the urge completely vanished and the goal of 80 meters was easily within reach. Only one good turn at 75 meters a few arm strokes and I’d done it. It has been a long time, but this actually felt liberating and puts me in the position where I had been waiting for almost a year. Ready for more!

Eric-Riet-Paap-DYNEric did his dynamic with fins schedule with a nice full pocket mono-fin, with the pockets placed under an angle. He started of with a new technique by using an arm-stroke in between the mono-fin kicks. Which actually doesn’t look all that tiring when you look at it, he made it to 136 meters which impressed me yet again ;). Eric continued with a distance schedule for dynamic and I shot a few underwater videos from it. Jouke was training his technique on the mono-fin and getting a proper balance for his Orca suit. But I can hear him say that he didn’t find the proper weight balance yet.

I would like to thank the people form Freediving Utrecht for having me over in their pool. I had a really good time, freediving, chatting, catching up and of course I reached my goals!

Freediving training @ the tongelreep’s 50 meter pool

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Last night I went out to the Tongelreep for some freediving training as it’s thursday again. Jorg only just got back from holiday and pointed out that he would be joining again next week, but both Kostas and Yugyug were there to join me in training.

img_3893I didn’t really set up a schedule for me to work on, but I did want to do a few crawl without breath’s, DNF’s and some static at depth. Unfortunenately the Tongelreep was on summerschedule, so the 5 meter deep pool was not available to us at this time. We had to switch to the 50 meter official competition pool section to do our training. This is the section also used with the dynamic’s during the 4th dutch Apnea Open. The pool is 3 meters deep and has a lot of lanes available, but it’s rather hard to get a lane to yourself » so you’ll always have to be alert to swimmers going about their own business.

So Yugyug and I agreed to start with some warm-up laps, which for me meant doing about 4 lanes of 50 meter crawl without breath. Yugyug was doing 25 meters of DNF’s to get his system prepped. After our warm-up Kostas joined up with us and it was time for the static’s at 3 meter depth. Yugyug and Kostas did really good static’s and I got inspired to do a static as well. I agreed with Kostas on their tapping strategy and told him I would see how things progressed but I set the max to 3 minutes. This all went really good, I wasn’t all that relaxed as the last time with Jorg I had a good 3 minutes at 5 meters, but in general I did not have a hard time taking the contractions for the last 60 seconds.

After the static session I had a go at DNF’s over 50 meters, which had been a while in a 50 meter pool. First lap was progressing good, but confidence was lacking a bit so for safety reasons I went up at 40 meters, as I was training alone at this moment.  But after resurfacing I instantly could feel and notice that this safety measure altho good to do, no where near any out of breath signs ;). So as confidence was up again I started at the other side and did another DNF run back and this time the 50 meters went away easily again. Although touching the wall at 50 meters did feel as a relief, I think that’s only due to the fact I haven’t been doing this at all lately.

20081217_Technique_DYN_Kostas_01Kostas decided to go for a DYN over 50 meters after he first tried 2 x 25 meters to warm up. He came up easily, but one of the things to note here was that he’d decreased his swimming speed and now did a dynamic over 50 meters in about 1 minute 10 seconds, which he said did make him more comfortable. We’ll see how this progresses over the weeks to come.

Overall we had a quality training, learning a lot and having fun. I’ll try and write an exercise post about the crawl without breath to give more insight in this good training exercise. So stay tuned.

Balancing & Alignment for DNF

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.

Buoyancy

DNF

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.

Exercise
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.

Altitude
altimeterIf 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.

Air intake
what_is_freediving_2This 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.

Variation
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.

Spotter
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.

Equalize it

20081123_DutchApneaOpen_02.jpgWednessday evening Kostas and I went out for a dynamic technique training. Kostas had to focus on his finning technique and I was trying out the speedo breeaststoke fins to test a DNF question from Eric van Riet Paap.

What I noticed with Kostas was that he was floating upwards while trying to improve his technique, so I stopped him and said he’d be better of trying to swim a little deeper with a whole lot less air intake, because we didn’t have any extra weight to drop him straight down to the bottom 😛 . Before I could get him to swim deeper, we still had to solve his ability to equalize.

Equalize it
What seemed to be the trick into getting Kostas to equalize is that he was not using the pressere in his nose to equalize the ears. Although he was trying to put pressure on his nose, there was no air to compress and built pressure, so the effect was zero. After I checked for myself what I was doing whilst I equalize, I gave Kostas this tip of building pressure with air in his nose. After he tried it once…he heard a popping sound for the first time in his freediving experience. He was now convinced about the technique and knew what pressure to build to hear a popping sound. Welcome to the world of equalization Kostas !

Next week
Now he was able to equalize he could focus on his technique in dynamic with fins. His appearance in training at depth was very relaxed and unlike before ideal to focus on his technique. I guess he’s going to be very eager to go to the pool again next week.

4th Dutch Apnea Open

dutchapneaopen.jpgLast weekend Immersion organized Dutch Apnea Open in the Tongelreep Eindhoven. Together with Kostas and Guy, I participated in the competition, Marieke and Jorg were there to coach us along with friends who dared to travel through the snowy weather.

As it was the first competition for both Kostas and Guy,we had practiced the rules and procedures on the Thursday before the competition. It was a good training and new ground exploration for both of them.

20081123_DutchApneaOpen_02.jpgArriving at the competition we looked up our Official Top times and whilst doing so you just always bump into all familiar faces. Nice to see such a large competitor field. Talking to fellow freedivers and friends filled the first hour at the competition.

After all the socialization I got to coach Kostas and Guy for their performances in static. so we agreed upon our safety-tapping strategy and set out the planning for a small schedule until both their OT’s.

Static sessions
Guy Keulemans
20081123_DutchApneaOpen_03.jpgAs the organization set up the lanes somewhat confusing for freediver participating for the first time, Guy showed up in the wrong lane. As Guy was preparing I saw the competition field being entered by an other competitor so I had to relocate Guy into the proper lane after which he was ready to do his static. Not totally relaxed, but confident he did a great performance of 2m 39s. Not topping his personal best, but usually that’s a hard thing to do in a competition.

Kostas Kevrekidis
20081123_DutchApneaOpen_01.jpgAlso Kostas showed up in the wrong lane and after relocation we got to do the warm-up static’s. Eager to go for his static Kostas did his warm-up dives properly and prepared for a very good static. Having no problems while his goggle straps almost sprung just before his OT, he didn’t really had to struggle to get a perfect 4m 36s static.

Dynamic Sessions
Kostas Kevrekidis
Not totally confident about performing a 50m+ dynamic with fins, Kostas prepared for his DYN with a warm-up dive of 50m’s, no problem at all! So Guy and I inspired him to just do a turn and a few kicks and then he could still see how he felt. That being said he started his DYN and almost got stuck in the 1st meter start line, not distracted by that fact he went for 50m’s and turned. The 2 or 3 extra kicks got more and he did a great 85m DYN. Slipping up the surface protocol made it a disqualified performance, but does nothing to the fact he really made a good effort and perfect distance.

Guy Keulemans
20081123_DutchApneaOpen_04.jpgGuy prepared a schedule preceding his OT for DNF and the warm-up statics proved to be helpful. As the 3m deep pool posed no problem, he did a perfect 86m dynamic without fins (DNF). Seeing all the technique from our training put into practice and the points of attention for the surface protocol all went flawless.

I’m very proud of both Kostas and Guy for showing good performances!

Guy put up his pictures and movie-clips in this gallery » click here…

So…What about yourself…?
As for me, I’m currently going through a phase where I think it is best to resign from competitions for now. The pressure I put upon myself in wanting to always show the rest a worthy performance, I forget to enjoy competing in competitions like these.

For the record; my performances:

  • Static: 3m 35s, the point where usually my contractions come and the first fight starts.
  • Dynamic: 70 m DNF, clean and comfortable and yet again to the point where contractions and the fight start.

I wrote a post about my motivations to take a break from competitions, check it out here…