Freediving is diving in water while holding your breath, and there are different ways to do it. The International Freediving Development Association AIDA identifies the following disciplines:
In a pool or confined water
1. Statistical apnea (STA, Static Apnea)
The freediver lowers his face into the water and holds his breath while lying on the surface. It is the only AIDA freediving discipline that takes time into account. The main aspect of holding your breath for a long time is to relax your body. In training, as in all other freediving disciplines, there should always be a spotter who monitors the condition of the freediver and, if necessary, can quickly provide assistance.
The world record in this discipline (hereinafter the records are given for March 2020) for men belongs to Stefan Mifsud (11 minutes 35 seconds), and for women Natalia Molchanova (9 minutes 02 seconds).
2. Dynamic apnea in fins (DYN, Dynamic Apnea)
The task is to dive the maximum distance under water in one breath. You can swim in bilastas (fins-raznogo) or in a monofin. The peculiarity of this discipline is that it is important for it to have good stroke technique and excellent physical shape (especially for swimming with a monofin). You also need to be able to correctly calculate the balance of muscle work and relaxation between strokes and make movements economical.
Records in this discipline among men are held by Mateusz Malin and George Panakiotakis (300 meters), among women – by Magdalena Solih (257 meters).
3. Dynamic apnea without fins (DNF, Dynamics No Fins)
As the name of the discipline suggests, you need to dive as long as possible without fins. Any swimming style can be used, but usually athletes choose the underwater breaststroke that is most effective for progressing underwater. The discipline is challenging as it requires good breaststroke technique and the ability to relax and slide between powerful strokes.
The record in this competitive discipline for men belongs to Mateusz Malina (244 meters), in women Magdalene Solich (191 meters).
Training and competition at depth usually take place in the sea, deep fresh water bodies, and for some time also in deep pools. A buoy and a cable stretched in depth are used as a reference point – a freediver dives along it.
1. Free Immersion (FIM)
Diving and lifting are carried out by pulling the hands along the rope. The movement is not as fast as with fins and can be very relaxed. This discipline is usually used for first acquaintance with depth – due to a slow dive, it makes it easier to master the correct body position in the water and the pressure compensation technique. Freedivers often start a diving session with it in order to gently prepare their bodies for depth and warm up.
The world record for men was held by Alexei Molchanov (125 meters), for women – by Alessia Dzekini (98 meters).
2. Diving with constant weight (CWT, Constant Weight)
The freediver dives to depth with a monofin. You can touch the cable with your hands only at the time of the turn. Mentioned in the name of the discipline “constant weight” means that the freediver emerges with the same weight of the load with which he dived (unlike, for example, Ama divers, who leave a stone at a depth to help them dive).
The record in this discipline for men belongs to Alexei Molchanov (130 meters), and for women – Alessia Dzekkini (107 meters).
3. Constant Weight Bifins (CWT Bifins)
Since the technique and speed of swimming in bilasts is significantly different from diving with a monofin, since 2019, diving with fins is a separate discipline.
Records in this discipline belong to Alexey Molchanov (110 meters) and Alenka Artnik (92 meters).
4. Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) dive
Diving along the cable only using the strength of your own muscles. Freedivers usually use the underwater breaststroke as an economical and efficient – due to long glide – swimming style.
The record in this discipline among men belongs to William Truberidge (102 meters), and among women Alessia Zekchini (73 meters).
5. Variable Weight Dive (VWT)
The freediver dives with the help of an additional weight, which he leaves at depth, and, pulling himself up by the cable or using fins, rises to the surface. Due to the increased danger (with variable weight you can dive far beyond your usual depths), there are no competitions in this discipline, but records are set, the organization of which has very strict technical requirements.
Records in this discipline are held by Stavros Kastrinakis (146 meters) and Nanya Van Den Brook (130 meters).
6. No Limits (NLT, No Limits)
Diving is carried out on a special device – a slade. The freediver does not move during the dive. The core skill in this discipline is super-deep pressure compensation. At the bottom of his dive, the freediver detaches from the heavy part of the sled and inflates a lifting bag with air from a cylinder attached to the sled. In this discipline the deepest dives are made and it is the most dangerous. There are no competitions, only records are set.
Herbert Nietzsch (214 meters) and Tanya Streeter (160 meters) are world champions in this discipline.
Other freediving disciplines
In addition to these disciplines, there are others no less interesting. In the CMAS system, speed apnea and endurance apnea are distinguished in the pool. In the first case, the task is to swim under water in bilasts for a certain distance in a minimum time. In the second, you need to swim several distances in a minimum time with passive rest between segments.
There is also an intricate discipline at depth – scandalopetra. This is the only freediving team competition. One freediver dives into the water with a rock weight tied to a rope. At this time, the end of the cable is held on the surface by the second team member. As soon as the first reaches the declared depth, the second begins to pull the cable along with the load and its partner. The first freediver continues to hold onto the rock until reaching the surface.