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Performance Freediving Clinic

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Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2002
I just went through the Performance Freediving clinic this past weekend and wanted to report back to DB what I thought about the class and the personal improvements I achieved.

The class was run very professionally. Kirk Krack is an excellent and very patient instructor and having a World Champion (Martin Stepanik) help instruct the class and relate his personal record setting experiences is incredible. Both instructors are very personable and did a great job in making all the participants feel comfortable and at home. It was like having 2 friends teach you how to freedive.

The class was pretty diverse. We had one guy from Barbados, one from New York, one from Texas (DB member Don Moore), and 3 from Florida. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we did not get to do the open water portion of the class.

Here are the personal accomplishments I attained during the class:
Static = new PB 4:30, old PB 3:00
Dynamic = new PB 100 yards, old PB 75 yards

As you can see my improvements in the pool were significant. I can’t wait to make it out in the ocean and see what I can do. I highly recommend the class for anyone wanting to explore their freediving potential.

Scott T.
congrats on the new pb's sturgeon! I've been hoping to take a clinic sometime in the future.. always in the future. I'm curious, what was the weather conditions that kept you from doing the open waters?

25-30 knot NE winds gusting to gale force. Quite a bummer!!!!! They do their open water training in the Gulf Stream and I think the forecast out there was getting up to 15 foot seas. That's ok though, I'll go back to the class next time it's taught in Miami. It'll be like 2 for the price of 1.

Scott T.
Scott’s 100-meter performance was great. According to Tony it tied his own record as the top dynamic ever for the advance class. You could see Scott hesitating as he approached the wall for 75 meters on whether he was going to come up or make the turn. He did the turn and kept going. Martin was saying the whole time on his last leg while approaching 100, “do the turn Scott, do the turn”. Apparently the American record is only 125, but Martin main thing is he didn’t want anyone to stop at the wall without at least making the turn, which he is trying to drive in himself as well for when he attempts to break the 200 meter world record next month. Martin and Kirk also said that if you make the turn your head will surface at least a meter from the wall which will usually be the winning difference in a competition.

Scott came up with no blueness or shaking and had no trouble catching his breath. Martin said he still had a lot left. That, with a little improvement in his form and consistency in speed, it looks like over 125 is in his ability. Martin and Kirk said they could have an AIDA judge who lives in Miami come over when we go back in April to finish the deep water part, and make it official if he goes over 125.

The Basic freediving class consisted of my wife, 10 year-old and 7 year-old. Kirk was great with them. He put his D3 on my 7 year-old and called out her accomplishments during the pool session. First it was 13’ for 13 seconds and then she made it to the bottom at 14 ½ feet. My 10-year old was disappointed after hurting her eardrum and not being able equalize vertically from then on. Kirk got her excited again, by putting a lot of weight on her which allowed her to drop feet first to the bottom, duck walk along the bottom, and then kick up. She had a great time. My wife wanted to learn the safety part, so she can rescue me, so Kirk had Tony work with her on that.

I have to say something about Martin. I was a little afraid to meet him, because I had big expectations and I was afraid he might not live up to them. I am happy to report Martin is a great guy. He is very intelligent, has done a lot of studying, personable, a good teacher, and has a great sense of humor. He is not stuck on himself at all. His physical abilities are amazing. His girl friend is really nice too and my family kind of bonded with her.

Kirk is an awesome guy too, but I knew that before I meet him. What makes Kirk so good, besides his own accomplishments, is his humility. This gives him the ability to learn and pick out the best things from everyone. Many times, during playing back past records, Kirk and Martin would say what they have learned since. It gives you the sense that their knowledge is rapidly expanding.
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FYI the Mens US National Dynamic record is 118.39m held by Kevin Burgess 4.29.01 at the US Team tryouts held in Florida.

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Annabel's got the number to beat at 138 meters for the national record...I think claiming any kind of record under that # is a little weird.
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Thanks for the numbers guys. Okay Scott, we need 139 out of you to clear this U.S. record stuff up!
Why stop at 139m? Reach for the stars! Go for 239m, and fall short with 212m. Within a few years the news will say 'Yesterday, American Scott Turgeon became the first person in history to break the 1/4 mile mark in breath-hold swimming....He says he has set his next goal on being the first to 1/2 mile....He says someday he will break the 1.16 mile record held by the bottlenose dolphin.'

All kneel and hail Sir Scott 'The Bottlenose' Turgeon.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Way to go Scott! Not bad for a spearfisherman. You better give the record a shot. Just have fun with it. If you don’t make it, its okay, you’re just a spearo anyway.

Don, just out of curiosity what did you and the others do in the dynamic? I want to see what I need to be able to do to not embarrass myself if I take the class.
Originally posted by sammydive
Don, just out of curiosity what did you and the others do in the dynamic? I want to see what I need to be able to do to not embarrass myself if I take the class.
Well, that's the nice thing about a Performance Freediving class -- embarrassing yourself isn't an issue. When I took the class in Malibu last spring, I was toward the bottom of the spectrum (although not rock-bottom) in both static and descents. But nobody ever treated me any differently -- the focus is really on each person and how he or she is doing in terms of their own PBs.

Sounds like the Florida crowd had a good time, despite ocean conditions. I'm still trying to get a good list of the stretches that Martin takes everyone through before jumping in the pool, if that's fresh in anyone's memory.

"Not bad for a spearfisherman". Thanks, my sentiments exactly! Don't worry about embarrassing yourself, like Frank said it's not an issue or at least it wasn't in our class. BTW, one guy in our class only had like a 2:30 static the first day and then came back the next day and did 4:00 min. You never really know what's possible until you try it.


I don't know about setting any record. But thanks for the vote of confidence anyway. I think I do have some potential though considering this is only about the second time I've ever attempted a static or a serious dynamic. Now all I have to do is go to your website and figure out how to pack and then maybe that 239 might be a reality.

Seriously though, I'm pretty excited about what I learned in the clinic. I'm going to continue to do Martin's stretching, work on improving my breathing, learn how to pack, do Martin's diaphragm stretches, and work through Kirk's O2/CO2 tables for awhile and see where this little bit of training and knowledge takes me. If none of it improves my diving (which I doubt) then I'll forget about it and just stick with shooting fish but if I do manage to become a somewhat respectable freediver, I may attend the next FL tryout or maybe attempt to break the National dynamic record. Although Eric's right, I have quite a long ways to go before I need to worry about those things.

Scott and DOn,

Maybe you could describe some of Martin's stretches for us. I don't remember that as being part of the clinic when I took it. I know that they are always adding things to the program and maybe it would be worthwhile for me to go through it again- if I could get the time.;)

Actually, I am still waiting for Kirk to get back to me about putting a clinic during the week leading up to Freedive-a-palooza next summer. Last I heard he was still out of the country.

Frank is right. They really focus on improving your personal performance. But then again, anytime you put six people together and measure their performance there is going to be a little competing and seeing where they fit. To answer your question, I didn’t do the dynamic, because my blood sugar was low and I was shaking when it came up. We were encouraged to not eat for a while before we did it and I discovered my limit in going without food. I would not have made 100m due to my poor form, but now I know what I need to work on to be better.

The range in dynamic was from 40m to 100m. In statics 2:30 to 4:30 (I tied Scott for best in that one). The guy who was at the bottom of the range was a real nice person who had recently quit smoking after 15 years. He was happy with his results and so was everyone else.

Kirk said for the advance class they like to see people with at least a 1-minute breathhold and a 30-foot dive capability, so you don’t have to be all that advance. The biggest single part of pool sessions is rescue technique and practice, which I believe is the reason for the prior ability standards. We dove to the bottom of the pool several times to either be rescued or rescue someone.

Frank, I will try and put a list together of the stretches, before I forget them. Everyone loved Martin’s stretches. The biggest thing I got from it was his statement that if you do a stretch for less than 20 seconds, you might actually be tighter than before you did it. I need to work a lot on stretching the shoulders. I use a lot of force to keep my arms next to ears, which kills my dynamics and deep dives.

Because we missed out on the open water portion of the class, Kirk and Martin threw in some extra stuff they usually reserve for the Performance Freediver course to make up for it a little bit. So, maybe that's where the stretching came from.

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Originally posted by donmoore
Frank, I will try and put a list together of the stretches, before I forget them. Everyone loved Martin’s stretches.
Don, that'd be awesome. Too much time has gone by since my class last spring, and it's now all a jumble in my mind. I've even thought about signing up as a repeater at the discount rate just so I can take a tape recorder to the pool and get the list of stretches down accurately! ;-)
Originally posted by Jon
Maybe you could describe some of Martin's stretches for us. I don't remember that as being part of the clinic when I took it. I know that they are always adding things to the program and maybe it would be worthwhile for me to go through it again- if I could get the time.;)
Jon, I've noticed that the curriculum has seemed to evolve over time. I've read reports from some of the earliest classes, for example, where it's said that they hooked people up to oximeters and heartrate monitors. We didn't do anything like that in our class last spring. On the other hand, Martin very definitely led us through a great course of stretching before we got in the pool for statics, and our class was just a plain-vanilla Advanced Freediver, not the Performance Freediver.

One other example of how the class evolves or varies -- I think the writeup I'd seen in advance said something about getting a taste of variable-weight descents. In our case, however, we did statics and other pool work for two days, followed by two days in the ocean with free immersion and constant weight. Still, though, all of that was plenty for me!
I made it out in the ocean on Sunday for the first time since taking the PFD clinic and just wanted to report back to let everyone know how my newly acquired skills performed for actual diving.

Here are my last 6 freedives of the day (as recorded on my new D3): 2:03, 1:46, 1:57, 1:59, 2:07, and 1:44. All dives were made in ~60 ft of water while hunting and shooting fish. These times are an incredible improvement for me. My old hunting dives only lasted from 1:20 to 1:30. To go from a 1:30 diver to a 2:00 min diver literally overnight is unbelievable. I'm looking forward to continuing my improvements with a little bit of training and further practice of the techniques I learned at the PFD clinic.

Incredible gains Scott! Especially since you’re a season diver whom you would not think would have the same kind of gains a less experienced diver would have. Sounds like the Performance Clinic is a winner.
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Good stuff Scott :)
I agree about Kirk and Marten. It's good to report that kind of thing here. Good business should be rewarded!
Erik Y.
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