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New CW rule

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Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2001
I was thinking that in the other competitions disciplines (static and dynamic) there is a room for error in the performance. As far as we surpass the time or distance announced we have solid points.

With CW is different, we train for around a year for a National, International or World Competition and only have one chance, with no room for mistakes or problems. An equalizing problem can ruin our team points.

What I propose is to left 5 meters without penalization. That means if I announced -60 meters, but just make 57 there will be no penalties and I'll have 57 points. And we have to trust on depht meter. The advantage of the athete that can make it and get the tag, is that there's no doubt in the depht (is what the Tag say).
In that way an athlete can aim for his best depht, but in case he/she has a problem during the immersion he can take a contingency plan, without loosing valuable points. This will make more enjoyable CW competitions and give some mistery to the results.

What is your opinion?

I put the same post on AIDA International forum
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Hi Frank

As far as I know, (I may be wrong), this rule that you propose was the current at the time BIOS Freediver Open Classic but they took back the old and now current rule because the new rule was not set to make the athletes announce bigger depths which was the case at BIOS.

Correct me if I'm wrong:duh
No idea Peter,
We made this in the last National Competition, and found it better.

Maybe some one from AIDA will answer your question better.
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Frank, I think your suggestion could only be an improvment.
Since I'm not that fond if the idea of having only one chance.

I also think that the points one gets should be the points of the depth one did. And therefore in the perfect competition, people will just dive the best they could on an endless line (maybe even more than once), and get the points for it. Unfortunetly this will make deep safety an impossible (or atleast a very costly) operation.

So the penalty rule has only one reason to exist as far as I can think of: to make the competition orgenizers to be able to orgenize deep security for all the athletes.

But I doubt that a potential 5 meter difference between decleration and performance would make safety a bigger problem than it is already.
Yes Michael,
That's the reason, there is no safety issue because it means 5 meters below the announced depht, not beyond.

If things go wrong on descent (equalization problems, strong currents, etc) you can turn to a conservative dive, without loosing precious points.
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I think you misunderstood me;

The rule that you propose was used during BIOS Freediver Open Classic. Many athletes announced bigger depths, and the strategy of one diver (I heard) was go for the plate but don't mind the tag... He got his points!

Later this summer AIDA took back the old rule.
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Didn't was aware of that Pete,
But what is the problem if he reach the plate, he made that depht, if you don't get the tag, can loose one or two points if the depht meter don't read it perfectly, that's the risk of the one who doesn't care for the tag.
I think is fair for the athletes
I also think the "5m no penalty rule" is fair because it's the same for everybody.

AIDA seems to think that this rule was not good for some reason, maybe for safety? I can understand why in this case.

In training we always, in our club, announce a depth that is maximum 2m more than personal best/recent made depth for safety reasons.

I dont like the idea of an "infinite" line because the athlete can make bad desisions at depth because of narcosis.

Right now I like the current rule because I think it's fair and safe. There may be arguments that would change my opinion offcourse...:)

For example an athlete can risk an eardrum to avoid penalty.

Problem is like i BIOS, the rule made the athletes announce ~3m more than with the penalty rule so that argument is gone in my opinion...:hmm

Good discussion
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as far as I know the 5m no penalty rule still applies to individual competitions but did not, and still does not exist in the team competitions

it was in place in Cyprus but not in Canada

Good thinking. Would be good to view this from different perspectives like any change in rules:
1 Sportive: The standpoint of the athlete who wants to do a nice performance without unnecessary restricting rules.
2 Safety: Athletes own safety and also safety divers etc.
3 The game: Which system is the fairest to compare competitors.
4 Judging: Judges must be able to judge it objectively so the outcome is clear to everyone, without discussions.

I agree to most arguments here, sometimes that particular dive just is not good because of a bad duckdive, bad equalisation, high waves etc. and early abortion of it without too much penalty points is nice in that case. Otherwise you cannot plan that nice dive because of fear of penalty points you need to do a very conservative dive to be able to cope with all sorts of things that can happen which make you go less deep.

The athlete is not pushed to go to or beyond his/ her limits to avoid penalty points if the dive is less deep. On the other hand it might promote to enscribe for deeper depths and a just "see how far it goes" attitude, thereby going deeper and taking more risk than otherwise.
Some questions in this respect are:
- Are deeper announced depths a problem or even a good thing?
- Is safety just your own concern *or* when may or must a competition organisation intervene?

3-The game:
This would make fairer ground for comparison between athletes. Small incidental mistakes like a bad duckdive, bad equalisation, too late a mouth fill, anxiety, .... do not have such a big impact on the outcome anymore because of less penalty points. It is no style competition like professional dancing, it is a depth competition.

Judges might have trouble verifying how deep you went when you return without a tag. Is the reached depth xx meters or one meter less or more? Is someone that gets the tag better than someone that did not reach the tag but went just as deep; who of them wins? The one closest to the enscribed depth?

Conclusion: It is a good proposition from the sportive and game perspective but point 2-Safety and point 4-Judging might need some extra attention. Maybe you have some great ideas for that as well.

Something else to think about:
A second chance at any part of a competition (assuming the organization can squeeze an extra attempt into the program) at a huge penalty of for example 20 points would also be nice. Because what if a technicality happens and for example your coach or someone else touches you too soon and thereby disqualifies you :duh :waterwork . With technicalities in many sports you can ask for another opportunity, but often at less favourable circumstances.

Let the ideas flow freely because that is how we all learn.
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Nice input from all of you. :>

There is some points to make clear:
-Never mean and endless line "to see how far I can go". I think no one serious freediver will take that attitude. What I said is that the plate should be at announced depth, and you have -5 meter less without penalties.
-In other disciplines like dynamic you don't need a tag, you just made a "measurable" distance and get the points from it, Why should be different in CW?. In UCB, the freediver just need to touch the plate. At this moment we have very accurate intruments to measure depht (dystance). In fact I don't see the utility of a Tag, remember the last Worlds competition, I'll quote the official standing:
Ananda's depth tag stopped 10m before reaching the bottom plate. On her dive she retrieved her tag but did not descend to the bottom plate. As the depth is measured by the bottom plate and not the tag, the points were calculated as if she had turned early but had retrieved her tag.
She returned the tag, and what she get...penalty.
-If some have "romanticism" about the tag, and therei s two divers at the same depth, the "tag" diver should be over the other in the classification, but still I don't see the reason to make a difference, it is a depht competition, and if both are at the same depht, and finish the performance completly clean, both are equally good (my opinion)
-I don't see any judging problem, If you come without the tag, the depth is what is registered in the computer or depth meter, rounded to the next inferior meter. If you have the tag, should be that the depht, but you see what happes sometimes with entangled tags.
-I think that announced depht, is just a matter of the athlete, some people announce 1-2 meters than their personal best, others the PB and others 2-5 meters below PB. It will continue and with this rule I don't see any difference. Some will inscribe 5 more than his PB (they take the risk), and many others (like me) will anounce the PB and let a room for errors.
-Again, this are just my opinions
Hi Everyone,

I hope there is never a 5 meter grace given for divers who turn early on CB.

I realize that some feel this would be beneficial because it may prevent divers from pushing their dive too far if it isn't going well, but I only thing that changes your problem and doesn't solve it. What if you're having equalizing problems 10 meters short of your announced depth and you try to push it the extra 5 meters so you don't have any penalty points. Same problem, different depth.

It was also mentioned that this would be one way of compensating for unusual problems a diver experiences such as an uncharacteristically poor entry. I think that this is just part of the sport and if you want to be freediving at a competitive level then you need to train at a competitive level. That means practicing your duck dives until your entries are always good, and if you do experience an entry problem, knowing how to adjust and complete your dive. To me making a 5 meter grace zone would be similar to telling a pole vaulter that just knocked the bar off that you'll still give him some points because he was really close. The current depth penalties are fair in my view.

As for judging depth using depth guages, again I think it would be problematic. Sure most guages are good for recreational diving and for confirming competition depths, but they're not as accurate as you may think. Recently at the Worlds in Vancouver, Kim McKoy gave a very interesting and in depth talk about dive guages and their poor accuracy. The deeper divers go the more variables come into play and the less reliable the results. One example Kim gave was a test using three D3 guages he took to the same depth at the same time with different results. I believe the depth was only 30m but the guages all came back with different readings of up to 2 meters apart.

In my opinion, the rules should stay as they are for the time being. AIDA has made numerous changes over the last couple of years and some consistency is needed. Sure some atheletes have been experiencing problems, but from what I'm aware of it's usually due to their lack of preparation and/or understanding of the rules.

Freediving is a relaitively new sport with relatively new atheletes competing at high levels. Having some consistent rules for a while with high standards will help to raise the bar and gain public recognition for the sport as being more than just a bunch of extreme yahoos trying to hold their breath until they've killed some brain cells.

If anything needs to change I think it is giving more power to the judges to do their job. If I recall correctly, recently at the Worlds a German competitior on the woman's team was disqualified following her static performance because her elbow brushed against her coaches arm while reaching for her goggles. It was definitely a clean performance, but she was disqualified on this technicality. Sure, the athelete and coach should had been more familiar with the rules and ensured that there was no chance of them touching, but in a case such as that, where the technicality obviously didn't affect her performance or recovery, the judges should have been able to make a judgement call.

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts.

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Sorry, the 'endless line' term came out of me. Maybe too quickly.
It fits more for my playtime on a line than competition. Disregard.
I think that people need to find a burst of creativity when it comes to announced depths.

If a diver announces 100m, and turns at 60m, and makes it clean, who is willing to say that this diver cannot dive to 60m? The diver JUST DOVE TO 60m, and that depth is accepted as successful. Now, how many points should the diver get? 60! Pretty obvious. If the diver did a 60m dive, then the diver gets 60 points.

So far we can all agree.

Now the problem is only to prevent the athlete from going too deep.

Here the rule should be simple. The diver cannot announce more than PB+5m. The PB must be verified by a special process. If the diver says that he did 130m and there are no witnesses, then the diver's deepest verified PB is used. We could argue for a long time on how to verify the PB. If you don't have a verified pb, then you can't register for the competition.

So, if the diver has a verified PB of 80m, he can announce 85m. If he turns at 70m, then he gets 70 points. It is not stupid of him to turn at 70m, because we know he did 80m before.

In many competitions, I feel 'wrong' on the day of the competition. It is too early, or I feel queasy, etc., and I know, during my warm up, that I cannot make my announced depth. Why then, should I be forced to do so? It is not safe, unless I am in top shape. I was forced to announce my depth the DAY BEFORE or even EARLIER; how could I possibly know how I would feel on the competition day??? At the 2004 CAFA Nationals, I woke up SICK with a fever on the first day of the competition, and I had submitted my announced performances the DAY BEFORE. I couldn't have know that was going to happen.

If people argue that you must be able to reach your announced depth, then ALLOW THE ATHLETE TO ANNOUNCE THE DEPTH IN THE LAST 2 MINUTES BEFORE THE DIVE. Then, there would be every reason to expect the athlete to make the announced depth.

Very soon, a revolutionary safety system will be released, which will eliminate the need for scuba divers. Then, all these problems can be solved. Imagine the format of the competition.

Day #1: Qualify to 50m
Day #2: Qualify to 60m
Day #3: Qualify to 70m
Day #4: Qualify to 80m
Day #5: Rest
Day #6: 90m
Day #7: Rest
Day #8: 95m

On each day, no one is allowed to dive deeper than the qualifying depth. This is very much like high jump or pole vault. You must 'clear' the height in order to proceed to the next round. That way, no one with a pb of 60m can announce 130m, because he must go round by round, and if he can only do 60m, then he will be eliminated in the 70m round. To register for the competition, you need a verified pb of 45m+.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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I agree with Eric, the anounnced depht is for organizational purposes, and taking into account SCUBA divers, if we use a safety system that doesn't need SCUBA divers the depht will be more flexible, and you can announce your depth just before your performance.
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