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Choosing a competition depth

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

How do you choose what depth you inscribe?

  • Something I know I can do easily

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Something I have done once or twice but is a bit of a push

    Votes: 7 63.6%
  • Something beyond what I have ever done

    Votes: 3 27.3%
  • Other - please describe

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters


Mermaid, Musician and Marketer
Nov 12, 2002
How do you choose the depth you inscribe for a competition?

In the past I have always put a depth I knew I could do and had done several times.

In Cyprus this year, I just thought - damn it.. and put a whole 60cm greater than my PB. The dive went well and I wish I had put more.

Wondered how other people make this decision - I'm talking about an individual rather than a team event which clearly is different

I'm still just a beginner, and I view a depth competition as a training session.
Usually I do only little packing in training, reaching 32m in a very slow relaxing way, my dives are usually about 2 minutes. I like to take my time to relax and 'learn the depth'.
I usually take short preperations, and do safety work in the mean time :D

In a competition I finally have all the time to focus, prepare etc.
In short the preperation is MUCH better than on training dives, therefor I find the PB breaking depth easy to accomplish. My latest CW PB was such a showcase. After some decent relaxing I packed a lot at the beginning and followed the advise to swim faster than I usually do, and the meters flew by very fast :)
At 28m I encounterd my tag, I leveled at the depth and figured this wasn't the right depth, no plate nor divers, I touched the tag and it glided further down. I followed it a further 10m down. At the plate there where 3 Tags, And I sought for mine and got it. And after complaining to the rebreather divers, I left the plate about 8 sec after touch down. At 15m I encounterd the safety, gave him the ok, and at 5m to a glance up to see where the boat was, making sure I wouldn't bumb into it :) At surficeing I took a few obligatory breaths removed my mask gave the Ok-signal, than I started rightaway chatting about the 28m tag incedent ;) Though I made two long stops on the way down, it was still a speed record considering my slow diving, a 1:45. At 38m I had still plenty of air to clear etc. But it was 6m deeper than my previous PB(32m). The dive feld really easy.

At first I gave up 42m, a National record, but after hearing al the warnings and advices decided to reduce it to 38m. Looking back I'm sure I could have done it.

I expect that this Personal Best breaking will wear off when I finally stumble on some limitations, see if it hapens this season?

My next depth competition is going to be in Belgium, Free Immersion. And I plan on some serious training in Germany.

I think I would base my depth in the futere on how I feel, indeed very subjective. And if it's close to a national record I'm also temted to try for that, it would be a pitty to leave a record possibility. I've the time while diving, a luxurious feeling!


Hi sam,

I use to take the best result, I reach often in training (around PB) and add 5m. because you know you can do x meter, but in competitions everything is perfect: preparation, safety, etc. if you do your PB, fine no penalties, but you can do 5 more to improve.
Then again I heard the 5meter rule is gonna change, so a new, more conservative tactic will be better...

greetings dani

P.s. pic of deepest bear:
Much like the others, I thought that competition day would be easier than a practice day, (which it was) and therefore set a target of 3m deeper than my current pb. Of course there was no way of knowing for sure that I could do it, but I wanted to try. Like Kars' dive it was so easy that while sinking I heard my alarm go off 3m above the plate, but I was absolutely sure that I couldn't be there yet! So sure in fact that I didn't look up until I passed the 1.5m mark on the line. I barely avoided hitting the plate, and spent 6 sec on the bottom before heading back to the surface. The dive was much easier than the shallower training dive that preceeded it.

Happy training!
not for a while, just did Cyprus and coming to Vancouver but as Coach/Captain - not competing

but I will be helping the UK team decide on their depths so your input is valuable for them too


  • Like
Reactions: ramstam
Hi All,
It's funny reading all the posts that are saying add 3-5m to your PB!
I think I am a bit of a rare case and may be the 1st person to ever DQ diving 5m less then a PB. :duh
In Cyprus I hit 80m in training, no problem, yet I had a BO on the surface
attempting a 75m dive in the competition. :waterwork
I have never even had a samba before training in constant weight so to BO in competition is pretty unlucky. I really just screwed up my dive. I had problems in training being unstable and falling sideways a bit during the glide with my monofin. On my competition dive I went totally sideways, and had to start kicking again when I was quite deep. Then I wasn't watching and went past the bottom plate and got yanked by my lanyard. Wasted way too much O2.

Even though it was 5m less then a PB it was still a deep dive and not really that much room for error. I should have just turned early on that dive knowing I already stuffed up the descent, but I tend to be a bit switched off during a deep dive. I am also not used to turning early on a constant weight dive, usually I keep going until I can't equalize any more. For as long as I can remember I was limited by equalizing and not my breathold. So this possibly caused me to be a bit over confident.

If you are at the beginner to intermediate stage you may be able to get away with diving more then a PB. I think because most of the time you aren't diving near your limits. My first comp I dived 58m, 3m less then a PB but could have easily done more. I think for a team competition you shouldn't really be encouraging people to dive more then their PB's. But that's just me.

Great point.

Let me modify my comments. I started freediving in September of last year. It took me until November to learn to equalize well enough to get deeper than 10m. Once I hit 20m, I couldn't get deeper for awhile due to a combination of no deep water available, and alot of ice covering the other areas! I wasn't till this spring that I really had a chance to increase my depth, and really not until the week before my first comp. In training that week I hit 31m, but really felt I had more in me. That's why I set a deeper target of 34m, deciding that if I couldnt equalize or if I felt bad I could turn early. These depths however are quite trivial compared to divers like yourself, and my situation is quite different than that of someone who has been training CB for some time.

In conclusion, I didn't mean to portray as advice my meathod, however I can see (after re-reading my post) how it could seem like that! I am someone who is very new to the sport and was just explaining what worked for me. The athletes that you will be coaching though Sam are not likely new to the sport and probably have lots of experience training in deep water. (yes I am jealous of Saltfree's training quarry!) Very different set of circumstances indeed!

Thanks for the clarification Wal. :)

Best of luck coaching Sam! The UK team is lucky to have ya! BTW, will Deepest Bear be coaching static? With his times, we all could pick up a tip or two from him!

Cheers all,
Thanks guys - no doubt the team will all have their own agenda on choosing a depth but I will endeavour to help them keep it real to guarantee some solid points. I agree with just about everything you said Wal - shame about your dive, didn't know it was so much less than your PB. Never mind - another time and all that..

Deepest Bear will indeed be coaching the static. I might hold back from letting him advise people on inscribed times though.. I think three hours is beyond even the top Brits....

Anyhow I expect he will run off into the woods once he gets to Canada, too many other grizzlies around..


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