Freediving in the Y-40 pool

Y-40 is still the deepest in the world. It opened in 2014 and quickly became popular with professional freedivers. Famous athletes regularly train and conduct author workshops in it: Umberto Pelizzari, Federico Mana, Alexey Molchanov, Francesco Sena and others. But this does not mean that the pool is available only for advanced freedivers – it is useful to visit the Y-40 for those who are just discovering the depth. I visited this pool six months after completing a basic freediving course in Moscow at the Aqualibrium club and receiving the AIDA 2 (pool) certificate. This experience has brought me a lot of value.

Workout Formats

Y-40 is open daily from morning until late at night – last training starts at 10pm. One workout lasts 1.5 hours, including about five minutes to test the equipment if you rent it in the pool. Long fins, weights and masks are provided there, if necessary, free of charge.

On the pool website, you can choose the training format, day and time of visit and pay for the ticket immediately. For example, there is a FunDive format for certified freedivers. It allows you to simply understand at your pleasure the depths available under the certificate. This format can be taken even if you do not have a partner – the pool staff will be safe.
There is a separate format for instructors with a group of students – that is, you can come with your club and practice according to your training system, in your native language.
Alternatively, you can take a group or individual training session from a pool instructor. As a rule, there are instructors who work on the AIDA, PADI, SSI systems and conduct classes for freedivers of all levels, as well as basic engaging classes for those who have never dived with a breath hold. These trainings are held in Italian and English.
There are separate trainings dedicated only to mastering the blowing technique and dynamics in bilasts or monofin. Also available in Italian and English only.
And, of course, on certain days, copyright workshops from famous athletes are held – you can follow the schedule of workshops here.
All formats have different costs – on weekends and holidays, classes may be more expensive.

Important: when buying a ticket for a training online, you only need to pay for the lesson, BUT during a visit at the reception, you will definitely need to provide a passport; certificate confirming the level (if any); a medical certificate stating that there are no contraindications to freediving.

Personal experience

I took two workouts. On the first day – FunDive is a great way to get comfortable in the pool, explore the space and how you feel in it. I went with a partner – we insured each other, so there is nothing to say about the quality of the work of local safety, I didn’t have a chance to experience it.

Fundive was great. According to the AIDA 2 pool certificate, I was allowed to dive to a depth of 16 meters. Before visiting Y-40, I had not been in open water, and the maximum depth to which I dived was 11 meters in the pool of the Emergencies Ministry Academy near Moscow.

After doing several warm-up dives for 10 meters in Y-40, then with great pleasure I dived to 15 meters and hung a little at this depth.

The pool is interestingly arranged – the depth of 15 meters is located at the entrance to the deepest zone of the pool – a 42-meter pipe (yes, despite the fact that the pool is called Y-40, the maximum depth in it is slightly deeper).
At the entrance to the pipe it is curious: you can sit on its edge at the level of 15 meters, hang your legs down and sit, watching the deeper freedivers alternately plunge into the tunnel and rise.

On the second day – my partner and I took a group lesson with a local instructor in English using the AIDA system. The instructor was Italian Marco, an experienced freediver who gave many valuable tips on technique. Marco did some dives with us and right in the water corrected the wrong position of his legs and heads – the most common mistakes of beginner freedivers. We trained CWT and FIM.

Training with a local instructor is usually carried out on a zipline anchored in the area of ​​a 42 meter pipe. During such a lesson, it is possible, with the instructor’s permission and under his supervision, to try to dive beyond the depth allowed by the certificate. This is how I set my first personal record by diving 33 meters in my arms (FIM). The dive was very pleasant, firstly due to the fact that there is warm thermal water (32-34 ° C), in which you can stay for a long time without a wetsuit, and secondly, because there are no underwater currents. During free fall, you feel the pleasant movement of water on your skin and how smoothly your body cuts through it, like a knife that enters melted butter – smoothly and easily. You can track the dive distance even without a computer – there are depth marks on both sides of the pipe walls.

True, there is a minus here, which concerns safety: when diving in the 42-meter zone, you must definitely use a lanyard. However, the cables in the pipe stretch to the very bottom, and there are no stoppers on them that would limit the depth of the dive. That is, if a beginner freediver loses control during a dive or dives with his eyes closed, he may fall deeper than a safe depth for him.
Actually, something like this happened to me when I dived to a depth of more than 30 meters – I flew with my eyes closed – but stopped in time, feeling that it became difficult to blow through. She turned around and went upstairs. It was not the most controlled dive, but this experience helped me later to feel more comfortable and confident at depth in the sea, and to make already conscious and safe dives.

Pool infrastructure

There are eight zones in total in the Y-40 basin: the deepest 42-meter zone, and further zones in 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5 and 1.3 meters. Due to the fact that the pool has a large volume, 4300 cubic meters, and there are many different levels, the pool feels spacious, and the space seems interesting, not boring: you can carefully move from level to level, the main thing is not to disturb anyone. At different depths up to 15 meters, there are underwater grottos in the walls, they are made for training scuba divers, it is not safe for freedivers to swim there: it is dark there and there is no way to quickly ascend. So you can only look there and wave your pen to divers)

Approximately in the middle of the pool, at a shallow depth, there is a tunnel – this is a corridor through which visitors to Y-40, who are waiting for the start of their classes in the pool, can walk and watch those who are already exercising. A stunning sight: as if you were in the kingdom of amphibious people.

And in the 42 meter zone, in front of the entrance to the pipe, about 10 meters above the surface, there is a window through which you can also follow the divers descending and ascending along the cable. Through this window it is convenient to observe the technique of other freedivers, how the coaches dive with the students and show how to correct mistakes. It is very useful to spend time while you wait for your workout to start.

Why visit the Y-40 pool? Because it is a great simulated open water workout and a good technique for working on technique. Plus it’s a very interesting experience!

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