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Why is acrobatics needed after hundreds of metres underwater dynamic apnea?

ComputerBoy

Member
Sep 10, 2011
17
1
13
Vietnam
At the first time seeing athletes hanging on the line after hundreds of metres of DYN, I couldn't believe in my eyes. And last year at Individual AIDA Pool World Championships Belgrade 2013 I saw no one is allowed to use lanes with wall, maybe to be fair and to increase the level of "challenge"!??? But in the safety viewpoint, doing balancing on a rope after max performances, when the body has just endured an extreme hypoxic state and all the muscles are needing time and relaxation for recovery, is so dangerous for the athlete and that "challenge" has no concern with freediving performance. I don't think putting people in dangerous zone and require them to be "safe and clean" is anyway athletic at all!!! Aside from the AIDA's "strict" surface protocol (and unsafe to me), this kind of acrobatic performance is completely ridiculous to me!!!

It seems that AIDA is more and more challenging athletes with post-dive procedures. To me, I definitely cannot fulfill AIDA's requirement to be approved, simply because I would have SAMBA EVERY TIME attempting performance dive IF I did NOT have enough time and stable relaxation (by holding a firm support, or simply floating on the surface when no firm things available) for recovery. BUT as long as I have enough time and relaxation, there's been no samba no matter how hard I tried. I know the "problem" is in inside my body, I was born to have low blood pressure and had got some blackouts on land before knowing freediving. However since practising freediving I've known my body better, my cardio-vascular system better, and I've known how to deal with that problem using hook breathing, which had come to me naturally before I knew its name "hook". My hooks are typically longer than other "normal" ones, at least 1 second and usually from 2 up to 5 seconds after my performance dives. In those long hooks I clearly see the waves of relief & refresh from my lung/heart spreading out to my extremities.

Concerning the AIDA's surface protocol, I like what Sebastian Naslund wrote:

So the big question is…

Do we want athletes pushing it to the limit, fighting with the SP at the end. Adding that kind of drama that can be found in other sports: will he make it or not!? Look at the way he is fighting to regain control.

Audience and media are one unit, they are linked. Will the audience like the PBOMM fighting? It is easy to say that a clear majority does. So does media. They want drama. A few will turn their faces and shy away from this gladiator spectacle, but most will stay and watch with awe.

If Aida chooses this way, freediving will still be portrayed as one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Which will feel odd for the athletes, since they all know it is one of the safest sports in the world. And still, while media might want the Gladiator angle, does the freedivers themselves want this?

Sincerely.
 

Kars

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2003
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www.freeapnea.nl
Interesting question, thanks for bringing it forth.

I think you have a point, that when diving close to samba for some need more recovery time before they can perform the safety protocol safely ;)

It's an interesting aspect that the Surface Protocol requirements themselves can have athletes stressed out and run into problems they otherwise may not have.

My question to you is,
1 - can you not train and automate your resurfacing procedure and speed up the recovery process?
My procedure is simple, 3 longer hookbreaths, mask, sign, words. For now this works for me. But maybe when I get older, or deeper, and my metabolism slower I may need more time, who knows?

2 - Would a SP time of 20 or maybe 30 seconds be sufficient for you?

3 - Also how would the freedivers respond to this change, will people push further and more often into BO?

In regard to depth, I think that more divers would benefit, because they have a bit more time to recover from the narcosis, and re-expanding lungs. William Trubridge I'm thinking would benefit much as I've seen him struggle with the SP so often after such long deep dives.

Again thanks for the question, I'm looking forward to the responses!
 
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ComputerBoy

ComputerBoy

Member
Sep 10, 2011
17
1
13
Vietnam
Hi Kars, thank you for your questions which help me to clarify my ideas:

1 - can you not train and automate your resurfacing procedure and speed up the recovery process?
I'm not clear what do you mean by the word "not" above, so I'm answering the question without the word "not". With training I think every thing can be automated. But that will completely miss the point of safety in SP. In real life dives, I never signal "OK" before I fully recover, and I usually remind my buddy not to signal "OK" too early. The rule of thumb for safety in diving is that safety procedures should be trained so that you can perform them even in the worst cases. And if you train yourself to perform the SP "in time" but not "in mood", you will automatically do the same in real-life dives which may have your buddy lose attention while you're actually in trouble.

About "speed up the recovery process", I don't really know how, but I've tried shortening my hooks and breathe more which just worsened my conditions: I needed a lot of breaths (10 or more) which span longer than my long hooks and my mind was so blurred during those breaths (comparing with my sharp mind within hooks). I also experimented with my heart rate: In my natural long hooking mode my heart rate doesn't jump up suddenly like when I grasped for big breaths without hooking (from around 60 bpm to over 100 bps, my normal is around 75 bpm). And I speculate that without hooking, the whole of my cardio-vascular system got shocked when I suddenly change from the conservative mode (hypercapnic, vasodilated, low heart rate) to "O2 abundant" mode (hypocapnic, vasoconstricted, high heart rate). And because of the sudden constriction of blood vessels, my brain didn't received enough O2, which, ironically, has already saturated in my blood after just 1 or 2 full breaths --> blurred mind. The experience of the sharp thinking in breath-holding period suddenly disappears after the first big grasp of air without hooking is exactly like when I stand up suddenly after a long sitting time, which is very near blackout and some times actually I blacked out with that posture change. But now with hooking, I can easily get it sharp back at will ;)

2 - Would a SP time of 20 or maybe 30 seconds be sufficient for you?
At least 30 seconds, and I personally prefer up to 1 minute! I need about 3 long hook breaths, each up to 5 second --> 15 seconds, then other 15 seconds for the protocol sounds reasonable. With only 15 seconds, I see every one just begins the SP right after the first breath, obviously not fully recovered. The extreme case maybe that of Swedish freediver Jens Schou who managed to complete the SP in heavy samba!

3 - Also how would the freedivers respond to this change, will people push further and more often into BO?
The trend of the whole community, which's inherently a complex system, is unpredictable (the so called "butterfly effect" in complex system science). That must be the net effect of both types of athletes: Safety first & internal signal watching people like me will be safer, back off from samba and BO because not being pushed by strict constrains; Number (performance) thirsty people will do anything to push themselves even to the boundary of BO.
 

Erki

Well-Known Member
Jul 19, 2010
55
6
48
Estonia
I think that point of competion rules is to make equal conditions to everyone. So if there are several lines (more than 2) simultaneously in use then it is logical that everybody should surface on rope. Soft ropes are difficult to handle, but it can be taken into account while planning the dive.

SP has similar reasoning. If somebody has difficulties with that then just has to surface earlier so that it will be fine.

Comp and rec dives are very different in nature so the safety issues. The rules are often argued and there are will be probably improvements in future, but even the present rules are already the results of huge amount of disscussions and have its own good reasoning behind.
 
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REVAN

The Right Stuff
Mar 19, 2009
808
355
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Arizona, USA
www.smithaerospace.us
I had to deal with a lane line for support after a national record dynamic. It was annoying, and I may have been able to go one or two meters further if I was on the wall, but everyone at the competition had the same conditions to contend with. The edge lanes were for warmups. On the plus side, it was a good pool with consistent deep water, so that made it better.

As competitors, we need to learn to adapt to the conditions of the venue as well as the AIDA rules. The rules are applied uniformly and the competition organizers do their best to make the competition conditions as uniform as possible.
 
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ComputerBoy

ComputerBoy

Member
Sep 10, 2011
17
1
13
Vietnam
Erki and Rivan, about "make equal conditions to everyone" or "applied uniformly", why didn't AIDA set up for just 2 athletes perform at once at the 2 side lanes with walls? What's the reason to arrange for competition taken place in middle lanes? Just for saving time?

"... and have its own good reasoning behind." So please pick up the reasonings which you think "good" and paste here. Just saying "good.... behind" is no informative in a disscussion.

"As competitors, we need to learn to adapt to the conditions of the venue as well as the AIDA rules." That's why I hate competition! The thinking like yours, Rivan, just turns athletes to a kind of robots programmed by the rules, put into the box and runned by the organization to see which one is best in the org's view, no humanity at all!! Sory for the exaggeration, though! Beside adaptation to the org's, as humans we should give feedback to the org based on our own experiences, as freedivers who know our bodies best we should propose better rules to enhance our own safety and to clear up the wrong image of society about our own sport.
 
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ComputerBoy

ComputerBoy

Member
Sep 10, 2011
17
1
13
Vietnam
"As competitors, we need..." Sory Rivan, I cannot be on your side because I hate competing and never think I'm a competitor, eventhough someday I may be (pushed to be) in a competition. My debate here is on the side of a specatator watching competitions and feeling disappointed for the results shown. And more importantly as a freediver, I deeply understand how badly those rules and setups affect the athletes.
 

REVAN

The Right Stuff
Mar 19, 2009
808
355
118
Arizona, USA
www.smithaerospace.us
Erki and Rivan, about "make equal conditions to everyone" or "applied uniformly", why didn't AIDA set up for just 2 athletes perform at once at the 2 side lanes with walls? What's the reason to arrange for competition taken place in middle lanes? Just for saving time?
It was the Team World Championships with hundreds of athletes competing. It would have taken several days to process all the athletes performances with only two competition lanes. So, it was done in the central lanes for time and cost savings. If they can do the dynamics in 1 day instead of 3, that is 2 days of hotel, food and pool access we don't have to pay, or get time off work.

By the way, don't be fooled into thinking that a competition is going to be set up to maximize your performance, especially the large ones. Things are often far from ideal. At that competition, I had to deal with a competition/food/transportation schedule that was basically mandating sleep deprivation, and I could not find the proper foods I needed to stay on my best. I would joke, "Come to the World Championships and show how well you can perform under the worst imaginable conditions!".

Not all competitions are equal. There is a reason that all the depth records are set at Vertical Blue. The location for that competition has ideal water conditions to make the dives consistently better. I would have set my NR dynamic 2 months earlier in LA, but the pool was crap, shallow but with uneven and confusing depth, that resulted in a surface break on the second lap. I actually swam further on that performance than I did at the WC, but it was not a NR because of the penalty for the surface break. The surface break is a rule I'd like to see changed. It just does not seem to make much sense in how it is applied.

"... and have its own good reasoning behind." So please pick up the reasonings which you think "good" and paste here. Just saying "good.... behind" is no informative in a discussion.
The SP rules are there to demonstrate that the athlete's performance was actually within their abilities. If they swim to a hard BO and are rescued, the distance covered was not really within their capabilities. What if they surface on their own, but then they BO and slip back underwater? Without assistance, they would drown; so that is also not valid. So, where to draw the line?

The rules were chosen, I think, primarily with the idea that you not only have to be conscious, but your cognitive function has to be in tact well enough to perform some simple tasks. This was done to promote safety within the sport. When accidents happen AIDA reacts to try to prevent it from happening again. When Nick died last year, it prompted a more indepth look into squeezes and how and why they happen, and what to do about them when they do happen. New rules are flowing from that incident that are being implemented next year.

"As competitors, we need to learn to adapt to the conditions of the venue as well as the AIDA rules." That's why I hate competition! The thinking like yours, Rivan, just turns athletes to a kind of robots programmed by the rules, put into the box and runned by the organization to see which one is best in the org's view, no humanity at all!! Sory for the exaggeration, though! Beside adaptation to the org's, as humans we should give feedback to the org based on our own experiences, as freedivers who know our bodies best we should propose better rules to enhance our own safety and to clear up the wrong image of society about our own sport.
You basically have 4 choices.

1) You can choose to not compete and just enjoy the recreational aspects of the sport.

2) You can join AIDA, CMAS or other and compete under their rules.

3) You can join AIDA, CMAS or other and work from within the organization to change the rules and make them better.

4) You can create your own organization that you think is better run than any currently available and indoctrinate athletes to compete under your organization's rules.

At various times, I have exercised options 1, 2 and 3 on this list.
 
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Kars

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2003
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SP.
As to the reasoning behind the SP rule, it's mend to prevent BO's by forcing compeditors to come up lucid enough to be able to do them. So if an athlete cannot perform them he should dive lesser depths, or choose to recover according to his need to stay conscious, and therefore disqualify himself failing to perform this test within the 15 seconds.

Now I like to add that deep diving has difficulties of narcosis and re expanding lungs that demands more recovery time. I think it's very reasonable that for depth competitions the SP time should be increased, so People like William Trubridge can get some air in and awake from the narcosis before the signal.
There is already a difference in pool and depth when it comes to starting time window, so having a difference in SP is not that strange I think.

Aside from logistics, Dynamic in more then two lanes was chosen because it makes it more attractive for spectators. Seeing the best 8 duke it out side by side is thrilling to watch. Viewers can also compare speeds, and techniques much easier. And when the best swim side by side they sometimes do look around, and adjust their dive, to beat his competitor. (Stig vs Alexey - Dynamic @ Maribor).

Like Revan - Ron said a championship is always away or far from ideal, and as the sport matures I expect less world records at these events.
WC's are about who is the best under these challenging circumstances, unlike record attempts who can be organised and optimised for ideal circumstances.


I've got the impression that your low blood pressure condition is too uncommon for a whole governing body to adjust their rules for. However with increasing depths, dives-time and increased narcosis I think a longer SP time has a better chance of becoming a reality.