The Goldy Freediving Club hosted it's AIDA Team Competition on the first weekend of November. Held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport (location of this year's AFA Pool Nationals), the format of the event called for teams of two to compete in all 4 disciplines, i.e. two per athlete. It is a well known mantra in freediving competitions that "white cards win comps", in a team format this is even more important. Nobody wants to let their teammate down! The field consisted of athletes from all over South East QLD with several clubs represented. Over the 12 entries there were also 6 different nationalities.
The usual nervous vibes that accompany the start of a pool competition were present, however this is always offset by the great community spirit that marks our sport. After a quick briefing from head judge (and AFA President) Lisa Borg, competition began with static breath hold. Arguably the most mentally challenging of disciplines, static requires the athlete to float face down for as long as possible. Typically there will be a coach to assist the athlete, encouraging them and giving regular prompts as to their progress. The coach will usually talk the athlete through their surface protocol ("SP") at the end of the performance. Every athlete differs in what they like their coach to do so it is essential this is communicated well beforehand. Static produced some impressive performances, with Michael Heitzmann leading the way with a breath hold of 5:49 followed closely by Andrew Bain with 5:43 and Liam Allen in 3rd place with 5:19. The athletes were not deterred by the driving rain in the morning although the officials certainly endured some discomfort!
Next up on the menu was Dynamic No Fins, which is basically a modified breast stroke performed under water on breath hold. The weather had cleared for the afternoon and again our competitors turned out some big efforts, Jack Michael and Ryan Beecroft out in front with 130m swims. Notably, all six divers in DNF achieved white cards. The first day of competition complete, team "Banana" (Ryan Beecroft and Michael Heitzmann) were ahead followed by team "New Zealandish" (Lewis Jones and Andrew Bain) and team "You Must Be Joking" (Fred Maire and Maurizio Rossi) in third place.
Sunday started off with the discipline of Dynamic With Fin. This featured a couple of interesting performances, Liam Allen swimming without a wetsuit after forgetting to bring it and Andrew Bain managed to swim under the bulkhead at the 150m mark and still adding another 10m to his swim! As well as Andrew's 160m effort, Ryan Beecroft pumped out 172m and Fred Maire was his usual reliable self with 164m.
The teams entered the final discipline of Dynamic Bi Fins with everything still to play for, a red card for one of the leading teams would have thrown them out of contention. The closeness of the teams was epitomised by the top 4 divers all swimming between 121-132m. Chris Ellem stunned everyone with a monstrous swim of 217m, he unfortunately received a red card and his performance did not count. It will not be soon forgotten by anyone who was there to see it on the day however.
At the completion of the event, standings remained as they were at the end of day one, with team "Banana" coming away with the win. Congratulations to all competitors and a special thank you to our volunteers and sponsors.