Tag Archives: DYN

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.

Training: new Blue seventy suit

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Today I brought my new Blue Seventy suit to the training pool Tongelreep in Eindhoven. It was time to put it to work in the training to get used to freediving with it. I’ve tried the suit on several occasions, I tried Eric van Riet Paap’s suit at the RMC in Wiesbaden just before my actual run and I tried using the same suit twice at our own dynamic competition. On both occasions I was not able to fully test it before the competition, so in Wiesbaden I decided to go with the familiair – without suit – and at our own competition I did try it in the comp, but then I had other side-effects keeping me from properly putting it to use.

Last week I picked up my suit at Eric’s home, while I was in the area for work related stuff. Today I could finally put it up for a test run and see how it flows through the water. I set my distance to the usual 97,5 meter and went for it without any breathup or preparation. It felt like I was doing my normal rhythm and agreed with myself I’d turn at 50 meters to see how I felt. Somehow it did feel that I was generating more speed and had longer glide phases. Kind of startled to see I was almost at the 100 meter mark I gave the abort sign – like I agreed upon with Jorg – and resurfaced. Looked around a bit and actually everything was very OK.

Jorg gave me the feedback that it looked like I was trying to sprint – as opposed to my normal speed – but I could sustain this tempo longer. I told him that I was just doing my normal rhythm and not exaggerated the motion in any way. So to see what the difference was between without suit and with the suit, I agreed to do 2 test runs where I’d do three kick-kick-kick-glide cycles. Normally this will take me to 25 meters, but now it took me to 35 meters !! Some suit I got here, very glad I gave it a good try finally.

Step By Step

Great session yesterday evening! It was the first freedive training after our snowboard vacation, so we were curious high the high altitude training would have helped us with our performances. At the moment Sanne and I are trying to accomplish two things in the pool.

The first is to increase monofin technique. We already came from far with this one. The first quarter of this year was really dedicated to using the monofin and I’m glad to say that both Sanne and I are finally using the monofin in such an easy way that turning back to bifins for dynamic performance dives would only be done of nostalgia.

The basic technique is there and there is even room to play around and experiment with this technique in the form of amplitude changes, body position adjustment, power and kick cycles. We both agree that for the moment our best strategy to go by is a kick-kick-kick-glide cycle in the pool we are using now. As this is a 25 meter pool we need 3 complete kkkg cycles for one length, which feels good compared to effort put in.

Now we need to start working on our weighting stuff. With the technique in the body, it is time to start fine tuning it and because a neck weight is even more uncomfortable for me then it is for Sanne, it is time to fix this this month.

Our preferred way of propulsion: Waterway Glide Fin

The second part is increasing comfortable performance (CP) so that it reaches closer to our maximum distance (MX). Increasing performance is always a trick by itself, and we tried already a lot of methods in the past for this. Reading back all our training logs from the past years one thing comes to mind; speed! The one variable we didn’t use to much is the speed were we would go to the next step. We used weeks, number of repeated performances and other variables to determine if we could make the next step, and the one thing that comes to top that still could be tweaked is going slower with the steps we take.

We still maintain the idea that we should be able to perform near our limits all the time without any big warm-ups and strange techniques. So that together with a program of increasing our CP nearer to our MP, brings us the current schedule we are  doing.

My own comfort distance is a 40-45 meter dive. No contractions, still good technique and the ability to relax underwater at the end. As soon as I turn at 50, I tense my body but especially my mind. So my task is to make sure I can do 45 meter dives without any tension and yesterday was the first time I could accomplish this, which I’m very happy with. I’ve never been able to keep so relaxed at this distance, so a big break through for myself. As I’m not as experienced myself with the no warm-up routine as Sanne is, I do a total of 4 dives like this with around 2 minute rests between and that’s it for me. So at the moment my CP=45 while my MP=75, which brings my CP/MP ratio to 60%

Sanne is already much further with his no warm-up routine and his CP. Yesterday he did 95 meters and make it look so easy. He stopped underwater at 95, made a stop gesture with his arms and slowly surfaced. His MP=125 meters, so his CP/MP ratio is 0,76 which is already great. And we are just getting started. This one dive is everything Sanne does for performance training. He is already so tuned in this no warm-up routine that this is sufficient for him.

The rest of our training is dedicated to technique and helping other freedivers improve. So still a minimum time invested in performance training for maximum results and still a lot of time left to enjoy the water. I just love this method!

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

Monofin training distance

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Since last weeks training the distance of 87,5 meters is the set distance to go by for the coming 2 weeks after the holiday. Yestrday night and last tuesday I did them without any real problems and my mindset was prepared for a distance like that. I like to keep it that way and start freediving with a comfortable distance and build from there. If I up the distance to a new one it’ll be somewhere around 90-95 meters the next distance after that must be 105-110 meters, as I don’t want to end a run at the wall. Mentally a bad thing to have and I’ll keep in mind the words “a wall is there to make a turn” which I believe are the words from Danny Matherus.

Getting comfortable with the new monofin is the best thing that is happening at the moment. The technique is developing itself every time I try a new run and will only become more effective as I make more meters. The one thing that is making it uncomfortable at the moment is the neckweight. Because of the natural body reflex of making a contraction to get some air in, it also initiates the muscles in my neck to tense and by doing so the neckweight’s fit becomes unpleasant. Even if I would loosen the neckweight’s fit, it will still ‘choke’ me because my arms are pushing against them. So I have to start focussing on perfecting the design for my own weight system again and start training with that.

Overall I’m very pleased with the new monofin and training strategy, besides that it’s great to teach some diver students (who join us on Thursdays) the basics and fundamentals of freediving.

Grueling CO2 and dynamic turns

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It is always a good thing to train with other freedivers once and a while, which made me decide to visit the pool in Zeist again for a freediving training. I joined up with Eric van Riet Paap at 19:45 yesterday and we started out with a static session to be followed by a dynamic session later in the evening.

Static
Eric had been making schedules for CO2 to go along his static times, as for today he wanted to do his “7,5 minute”-CO2 table. I agreed to try and do this schedule as well, just for the challenge of it, because it has been a while since a did a real good CO2 schedule. We started with a warm-up of empty lungs statics and I was very pleased with my results on that since this had been a while as well. Eric did nice empty lungs statics around 2m 10s and I was able to pull off a 1m 54s empty lung static.

In the meantime the other freedivers joined us, Rik Rösken, Danny Matherus, Erik Skoda and Rem. On to the schedule » First to go was Eric and he managed to do this grueling schedule without any bail outs or real problems. So respect for that! After that I was given the opportunity to give it a try. The first part went good and the first increase in time didn’t pose a problem. Then came the second increase in time and I just had too much trouble getting there in combination with an upcoming headache, that I decided that this schedule is for another time to finish. Just like Eric said, these things you have to build up to a level like this. None the less this was an awesome training and felt so good to be doing a proper CO2 training again.

After the schedule we both did a maximum static to see how the CO2 table influenced the contractions. Eric and I both did a respectable time without real problems, for 4m 31s for Eric and 4m 44s for myself.

Dynamic
For myself I had the goals I set in my last post, to reach 87,5 meters and see how easy that feels and always do a turn at 75m even if it’s just the turn. Eric had a similair kind of set up for his training, so we decided to take turns at our set distances. Eric first did a nice 100 meter with a turn and was very pleased with the overall feel, improvement points for himself were the turnpoints. After that I did a 87,5 meter dynamic and it actually felt like something to train with the coming period. We both went at it again and succeeded in doing that extra turn at the end. Pleased with the results I called it a day and went home and just made it there before midnight.

I like to thank Eric and his fellow freedivers for having me over, it was a great learning experience and good overall results to feel good about.

100 a new PB with monofin

There I was at my weekly training with Jorg, who had just been doing some serious improvements on his monofin training. Only a few days ago we went to the competition in Liege and there I made my first steps into the monofin world”with a 75 meter personal best (PB). The feeling I kept from the competition, was eagerness for more training and perhaps even distance ;).

Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Hyper mono-fin
Sanne swimming with the Leaderfins Flyer Pro mono-fin

After Jorg had just done a nice 50+ meters with the monofin, I took over the tight-foot-pocketet-momofin and sat down on the side of the pool. No preparation and just went for a 50 meter dynamic with new kick-kick-glide technique from last Sunday. At 50 meters everything was very OK and I decided to see what 75 meters would feel like with this more relaxing technique. At 75 meters, everything still seemed to be very OK and the turn was made before I could even think of resurfacing. It was at 95 meters that I first felt a little urge to resurface, which I did, just to be safe. Recuperation was easy like I did a 60-75m dynamic and I remember Jorg noting, that this was the most relaxed he’d ever seen me swim with a monofin.

As opposed to Saturday this was a huge difference, altough I was not totally doing the kick-kick-glide all the time, it payed off and leaving me with a brand new PB of 100 meters with a monofin in dynamic (DYN).

Last time I did a 100 meter dynamic actually also was more than over a year ago, 26th of january 2008 to be exact… Overall this leaves me with a good feeling and motivation for the time ahead. Clearly the facts are pointing out to myself that doing a step back to take a break can really refresh you.

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 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!