Competitive and Non-Competitive Freediving

Freediving is considered as one of the ultimate water sports for adventure lovers. It is usually considered to be an extreme sport, it is the opposite for most divers. This sport is popular among anyone who loves to go into the water and you don't need any snorkeling or scuba experience to begin. Divers simply follow a breathing technique, some even enter a trance-like state of mind as they relax and concentrate on their air while exploring the majestic sub aquatic world.

Ethnicities like ancient Greece and Japan, which plunged deep down to fetch food and other commodities from sea beds, have been in the world for hundreds of years. Many cultures use freediving as a means of food by picking up edible shells or fish from their dives. Freediving has become an activity with many aspects, from leisure to competitiveness, or even used to interact with some of the smartest animals in the oceans.

Know what is Competitive Freediving

Competitive freediving is a sport that is focused on the best results of an individual. All of the CMAS freediving disciplines are open for both men and women. CMAS is the official international federation for free-diving, acknowledged by the IOC.

The Championships are arranged under the leadership of CMAS. The key point here is that the competitive discipline is allowed to be a part of a contest or competition. The freediver can use a monofin or bi-fins depending on the type of competition.

Which are the CMAS recognized disciplines?

Here is a list of competitive freediving disciplines accepted by the CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) and AIDA (International Association for Development of Apnea):

  • Static Apnea

In the Static Apnea, the athlete has to perform apnea for a maximum duration of time which has been declared beforehand in advance. The freediver might go past this time.

  • Dynamic Apnea

In the dynamic apnea. The athlete is focused on attaining the maximum possible horizontal distance by keeping his body below the surface of the water in apnea with or without the fins.

It can be held in a swimming pool or even in open water, with or without the use of bi-fins or monofins (in case of dynamic apnea with fins).

  • Speed Endurance Apnea

Speed endurance apnea or S and E apnea is an event allowed by CMAS where the athlete focuses on covering a fixed distance at a minimum possible time. He has to cover the shortest time over a fixed and underwater distance.

It is held in a swimming pool and is swum in fractions of a pool length alternating apnea swimming with passive recovery at the intervals. With a speed of about 2x50 m and endurance of 8x50 m and 16x50 m.

  • The Jump Blue

This is also allowed only by the CMAS, where the diver has to cover up to a maximum apnea distance of around 15 meters in the square at a 10 meters depth. The event is held in open water (sea or lake) and the use of the fins is compulsory (bi-fins or monofin).

  • Constant weight freediving

Constant weight Freediving is an activity in which an athlete has to go down to the declared depth in apnea, without altering his weight, with and without fins during the entire attempt.

The event takes place in open water while the use of fins as separate competitions (bifins and monofin & bifins only) is dependent on the kind of competition.

  • Free immersion apnea

Accepted both by the CMAS and AIDA, Free immersion apnea is an event where the athlete wants to cover the entire vertical distance without using ballast or fins in apnea to the declared depth. This event is held in open water and a guide rope is allowed to be used by the athlete.

Accepted only by CMAS, in this event, the athlete dives with a stone attached to a cord (usually a marble sheet). Skandalopetra is usually a team activity where one person dives and one waits on the surface. The second athlete continues to pick him up when he hits the target depth.

Know what is Non-Competitive Freediving

Non-competitive freediving suggests that the divers can only schedule individual record attempts instead of competing with each other. It is majorly of the following two types:

  • Variable weight apnea

Variable Weight Freediving is an activity where the athlete must use a guided ballast system and return using his power along with the vertical distance in apnea down to the declared depth. The event is held in open water and it is optional to use a fin. Accepted both by CMAS and AIDA.

  • No Limits

This is the deepest freediving discipline. Here, the diver can also make a short descent by using a sled or ballast weights and then use an inflatable vest to rise. Since the freediver doesn't have to use his resources to descend and ascend, this discipline calls mostly for good toleration of the pressure. New records for No Limits are not currently sanctioned by AIDA because of the increasing risks of depths far exceeding 200 m.

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