Tag Archives: Competition

Static competition in Nieuw Vennep

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Last night I drove out to Nieuw-Vennep for a static competition organized by Nanja van den Broek’s organization Enker. The traffic didn’t pose a problem as I anticipated, so I was even in time for the inscription and judge speech. Although one judge was sick and one other freediver had called in sick, the cafetaria was filled with competing freedivers. Jorg was supposed to be joining as well, by after having another session with the dentist the pain was just too much to bare and he decided to stay home. It’s great to meet people in real life, after you spoke with them over the internet, although sometimes it takes a few minutes to recognize someone (Sorry Frank 😉 )

After everybody was inscribed and preparations were made to the pool, the competition started with the safety freedivers doing their own static’s first. After that Judith van de Griendt and Mark Keijzers were the organization’s safety. Besides all the gadgetery display, the competition was fun to be competing at. Exchanging experiences and learning from other freedivers is what comes first at these events, even if you don’t compete or compete against the big guns it will always be good thing to join for the learning experience. During the event I also grabbed my Android phone and tried make something out of the live coverage for Shark-freediving.com. You can watch the material in my Ustream channel here.

I promised myself the minimum of 3m30s would be satisfactory as I agreed upon with Jorg. Got into my Elios suit, which felt strange as I was almost the only one wearing one of those these days. I watched Eric and Jouke’s performance before I entered the water and eased into the competition area. Had a few laughs with the safety and started my breath up at 2 minutes before official top. Slow breathing with a normal rythem of 5 seconds in and about 20-25seconds air out always feels comforting. One or two seconds after official top I submerged and immediately the thoughts came into my head: “Here we are again, so why am I doing this?” Time to get rid of those thoughts and replace them by the experiences I had during my work day. Worked pretty well. At about 2 minuntes the contractions started and Not much later Mark Keijzers tapped my 1st tap @ 2m30s. Tap 2 and 3 came pretty quickly and I had reached the satisfactory level for myself. It all felt ok and I did two extra taps as I had promised myself and Eric to take a few extra contractions. Came up clean and did my surface protocol, waited for Erik Skoda to present my white card and there it was another mission accomplished.

It all might sound strange for people who used to know me as a guy who could static’s over 5-6 minutes and now not even being able to do so. But this has everything to do with me getting back on my feet after a succesful step back. I take things slowly and keep the fun factor high, hopefully this way I can get myself to fight off some more contractions. As long as I’m willing to do this for my own benefit and not for expectations of others, which is mostly the thing when my head starts thinking on automatic-mode ;).

Nanja thanks for organizing a nice event and let me express myself in your own words: “I always love competitions like these!”

Shark Sports: Dynamic Competition

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As you might have read in my previous posts, I am preparing to compete in the Shark Sports dynamic competition, this Saturday in Tongelreep, Eindhoven. I have no set goals for this competition, but I just have to prove my self a minimum I agree upon on the day itself. Furthermore I’ll be swimming with a new prototype for better alignment. In combination with the new monofin we now use, it’s going to be interesting for myself to just compete with the new setup!

Besides the fact of competing I’ll be doing safety as well, gives me a chance to wear my Gara 3000’s again.

Yesterday I’ve been setting up the streaming ability for the camera, which we are going to place behind the window at the 100 meter turn point in the pool. This should deliver a few nice images of competitors making their turn against the window. Hopefully the wireless connection is strong enough to reach that basement the Tongelreep created to view/analyze what athletes are doing underwater.

So if all is proceeding according our plans, than the competition will start at 14:00 CET, this is also the time that the LIVE internet broadcast will start. If you’re unable to join us at the Tongelreep in real life, then surf to http://shark-freediving.com/live/. I’ll start the first run, so I can do the safety for the other competitors. Hopefully it will be lot’s of fun and good atmosphere, see you all on Saturday 14:00 CET.

My Video’s from the Liege competition

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Last night I edited the video material we shot at the Liege competition last weekend.

The first video is Dynamic with Fins (DYN), a first timer for me at a competition to use a monofin.


The second video is Dynamic No fins (DNF), especially focussed on technique and minimal amount of strokes to reach 25 meters.


Although my mission was to reach the 25 meters in 2 strokes, the positive buoyancy made it harder to accomplish. I took 2,5 strokes for 25 meters, but the speed is still at the level I like it to be.

Enjoy the videos.

Time for a change: Testing at Liège competition

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Since I made a good comeback last month in the Wiesbaden competition, I have been training with a few different things. Yesterday – Sunday 25th of october – I competed in the competition in Liège, Belgium, amongst a whole bunch of fellow Dutch freedivers. It was nice to meet up with all dutch freedivers again, met a few freshly trained freedivers as well. Good to know the dutch competition interest is still around!

It was the perfect time and place to give my change of training methods a better test, as in Wiesbaden I was more focussed on proving myself I was able to do solid performances.

Dynamic with Monofin

Getting ready for the turn
Getting ready for the turn

The major change in dynamic with fins for me was to go for monofin. I have been training with it, but never did a competition with it. In training, my technique has been far from good and that might have been a reason as well to never show it to anyone else in a competition ;). But as we’re trying to change some things over time, It was a “What the heck” moment which made me decide to just do it!

Preparing myself for a push off in a 1m 25cm deep pool at one side (2m 15cm at the other end), I was surprised to see that the push off was fairly good. I had trouble finding the rythm and balance, but after lane one I was up for a turn. I remembered Pim pointing out in the briefing that there was a ledge of 10cm’s, so reminded myself last minute “Ow yeah, touch above the ledge!”. So I swam up a bit and made proper turn, trying to find balance and rythm yet again. On to the ‘harder’ turn at the shallow part of the pool, all the way there I visualized how I would try and make a flat turn, which I managed to do fairly well. But after the push-off the wall, I drifted sideways and my balance was kinda not there anymore. On my way to the 75m, I decided to call it a day as my technique is still failing me to make it a relaxed and easy run. Although I wasn’t out of breath, I think it was a good thing to make 75 meter my first monofin personal best 😉

Dynamic without fins: 2 strokes or …
20091025-Liege-DNF-01My mission for DNF was to try and make it across the pool in 2 strokes, which I had been training in the Tongelreep last Thursday. After the start I felt that the somewhat shallow pool made it harder to be properly balanced and I felt my legs drifting upwards. At the 2 strokes mark, I did not make it far enough to just glide the last bit so had to make an arm stroke to get there. The way back to 50m’s was no different and after the turn at 50 it became more vital to pay attention to technique. Because I had been focussing on that quite a lot lately, I found that holding my hands flat on my legs after the arm stroke did help in gliding further. So on my way to 75m’s I usually feel myself getting a bit sloppy on technique, so I put in the extra effort to keep the technique on a good level. All the way to 75m’s my technique was proper and it all felt good. I decided to make a turn and push off the wall and resurface. Immediately after I surfaced, the safety guy gave me the resting board and I made a clean surface protocol. A training in a training to be honest, as the line wasn’t strong enough to support a freediver hanging on it, I decided to try the board for a change at the deeper part of the pool.

All in all this was a super training session, I learned a lot from my efforts that day. Dynamic with monofin was far from perfect, but did taste like I could do more. Also on DNF I made progress, but need to have more neckweights to be able to work with different pools.

Another lesson I learned and put to practice really well was the fact I was happy with a 4 minute 20 seconds static. With most people whom I explain this to it’s an eye-brow raiser, but this is where I am at for the moment. I need to have fun in freediving and anything more the 3 minute 30 seconds was good for today, so I’m happy with it!

At the end of the day I borrowed Daan’s monofin for a quick test. Did 50 meters with it on my normal style, which already felt so much better than my own monofin. After that Daan and Jorg asked me to try the kick-kick-glide technique and that went surprisingly well. Made to the 25m’s in 3 kick-kick-glide’s which Daan explained was a good tempo. So to get back on a comment I got from Eric van Riet Paap on facebook, yes I will be switching to monofin for now and really would like to get a glide monofin.


This all sure taste’s like more and gives me some new opbjectives and new energy to train hard! Most importantly I had a lot of fun at a freediving competition.

The number 23 | Section 4: Competition day

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The 4th and final section of the number 23 project, was the competition day. Although my enjoyment was already good after a successful training project, the thought of competing again and meeting up with other freedivers is the bonus to the project.

20091003-RMC2009-01After arriving and getting myself inscribed at the competition, I walked away from the stand with the number 35 on my hand. After settling for a nice spot in the pool, the sun made us decide to relocate to a spot without direct sunlight. Jorg and I met up with Eric van Riet Paap and Erik Skoda, whilst doing so Andreas Hiemeyer and Pim Vermeulen also joined the conversation. Good to see others freedivers again and hearing about their progress in training and well being in general.

Time to check out the start times and wait for static to commence. Whilst the static was underway, I spoke to Eric about a Blue Seventy suit. He’d let me try out the suit to see if it made any difference for me. After trying it on I swam a few test laps, but couldn’t find my peace when I was underwater. I don’t know if it was the current in the pool or the change of wearing a suit, but I got out of the suit and did another lap. This lap was reassuring me of how I had been training before, was the way to go in the competition.

20091003-RMC2009-04In my preparation for static I started with a 1 minute empty lungs and a 3 minutes full lungs static. Both of the preparation statics were very relaxed and at ease, with no real mind troubles and sabotaging toughts. Fueled by confidence I started my static performance. Contractions started at a normal period and at 3 minutes 30 seconds I was in my own safe zone, but could continue to the next taps. After 5 minutes and 12 seconds I really felt good about it and resurfaced in a clean recovery. Whilst looking at the judges I felt like a million bucks, the white card was presented and Jorg, Marieke & Eric congratulated me on my performance. That felt great!

20091003-RMC2009-07The time in between the static and dynamic passed fairly quickly as I’d been talking with Michal Risian, which I’d never met in real life.

I announced 60 meters, a distance which is a perfect marker for myself. Usually between 45 and 60 meters I experience the harder part. Now I knew that 60 meters was more than enough and I surpassed this distance in a determined way. 20091003-RMC2009-05As my stroke count varied between 2,5 and 3 strokes, I started burping my way to the 90 meters. As I did not really feel at ease with all the burping and decided to call it a day at 91 meters. Yet again to make myself fel really good about my performance.

I really enjoyed the competition in Wiesbaden and meeting up with all the other freedivers. It had been a while, but taking the step back to take a brake really helped me regain myself. Now the confidence levels are up and I’m thinking of joining another competition at the 25th of October.

The Number 23: Freedive training for RMC Wiesbaden

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2009-RMC-the-number-23Not only is ‘the number 23‘ the title to a movie starring Jim Carrey in 2007, it’s also the number of days I have available to prepare myself for the Rhein Mein Cup 2009 in Wiesbaden. This year’s RMC 2009 competition takes place on October 3rd and I’ve inscribed myself for static (STA) and Dynamic No Fins (DNF).

I’ve spent serious time on a good schedule, holding all the right exercises for the preparation to competing in October. I divided the schedule into sections; Basic, Specific & Specialized. Annelie Pompe’s article “The secret of Freediving training” on Sebastian Naslund’s website, perfectly describes of what attention areas the sections exist.

The thought behind her article supports the way Jorg and I plan our training throughout a year. With the difference that we plan more around pool specific schedules, as opposed to the depth preparation described in the article. Also my schedule is not focusing on a year round plan, but I’m now on a 23 day schedule built from the same important blocks. That’s why it lacks certain endurance exercises, which have been replaced by DNF combined endurance exercises.

I’ve posted the schedule onto Google’s Document service and made it public, so you can follow the progress over the 23 days of freediving preparation training. Click here to open it.

Break’s over, back in action…

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sannebuurmaOver the last year I was enjoying my step back from competitions, as you might have read on this blog. We’ve done a lot of training, without actual performance goals. The main goal of my step back was to have fun in freediving again. During this year I’ve grown back to enjoying and experiencing freediving the way I used to, giving me an overall fantastic feeling. The last few months thoughts of serious training were crossing my mind again and I kept off these thoughts until I couldn’t resist anymore.

At first I wanted to compete in the 5th Dutch Apnea Open, making it the perfect comeback after a year of absence. Unfortunately I will not be in the Netherlands at that time, as I already planned the time off for my holiday way in advance. It made me consider the Rhein Main Cup competition and I pointed out to myself that it was time to “Just do it!“. Just like the dutch apnea open, this competition and I go way back to the beginning of my competitive freediving, so it mainly serves as a friendly and familiair ground.

I’ll describe the preparation schedule in my next post, in which I’ll also share my live updated schedule.

Thinking takes time

I took the time to think lately, not only about where I’m at in freediving, but also what the rest of life brings me. As this isn’t the topic of freediving which I share on this blog, I set up a blog for myself here.

Besides those topics, that are filling my mind, I still like freediving very much. Although posting about it is a bit hard, when the thoughts are bit scattered and without focus.

TSB_DYN_125m_P13_03.jpgI do have a few things I want to share from this thinking I have been doing. I’ve been discussing these things with Jorg, Kostas and Yugyug as well, which made me realize a few things. As the time passes – in a period where competitions are far away from me – I can’t help but notice that I start to get a feeling that I actually like doing freediving competitions because of the training for these competitions.

EricvanRietPaap.jpgI’m not giving in to this feeling just yet, as I want to be sure that it’s not the fact that I’m missing the structure & continuity it brought into my life. I really get a lot of joy just by freediving or reading about it on other blogs. I try and analyze how I feel when I read Eric van Riet Paap is doing over 8 minutes, that Daan Verhoeven is in Egypt again for the Bizzy blue hole. Analyzing these thoughts tells me why it feels good to take a step back, as the back of my mind still has the competition spirit going.

20081123_DutchApneaOpen_02.jpgI’m getting there, but not just yet. Kostas has been trying to convince me to go back into competitions again, just to show ourselves what we’re capable of. A teasing thought and with the right ingredients that will work, as long as I can block out that I’m doing it to show the world what I can do.

Looking back at 2008

Happy New year to all loyal readers and visitors!

This year had it’s up and downs and showed me a new side of my way of the freediving.

I started out with the coupe des dauphins, I did solid performances on the dynamics (DYN & DNF), but had my troubles with the static. Overall it left me with a good feeling, new friends and tips & tricks.

After that I went into training with the monofin and getting into the technique of this new way of finning. My technique did improve, but isn’t by far what I want it to be. I put down the monofin for now, but will surely get into freediving with it again this year.

I switched my focus to preparing for my first ever depth competition at the Bizzy Blue Hole competition in Dahab (EGYPT), which was a really great experience.

Although I never improved my depth performances since the Umberto course I was very confident on improving my depth skills and performances. I’m very pleased with the results I booked and I can only say that I learned a whole lot about depth freediving and got to know new people and found new friends in them.

After my depth experience, I had subscribed to the CNF course with William Trubridge with the great guys from Apnea Team Amsterdam. William truely has a lot experience in this part of freediving. It has been very helpful and I gained a lot by attending his course.

The last part of the year really came down to my mental ability, or the lack of it, to find my true self in what my goal is with freediving. I realized that it’s best for me to take a step back from competition freediving. I am to find my true purpose in freediving again: having fun and enjoying the freediving again, no personal bests for a while and back to the basics.

2009 – This year
Last year I’ve changed  the back-end of the site and had to change the theme/template for the website to show all new widgets. In 2009 I hope to find some more time to fine tune the template integration again.

Futhermore I hope to enlighten you, the readers and visitors, with more blogging and in depth articles about our journey into freediving. This year for me personally will focus more on the coaching, re-finding my drive and I hope to direct & mount a few more freediving movies.

Since we started blogging, we’ve written 114 posts (incl. this one) and had 95 comments. In 2008 we wrote 55 posts and had 40 comments.

Site Usage this year:

  • 5,544 Visits
  • 3,839 Absolute Unique Visitors
  • 14,345 Pageviews
  • 2.59 Average Pageviews

In comparison to last year we had a little decrease of visits, but an increase in absolute unique visitors, which indicates a wider range of readers. And the drop in visits is due to increase in RSS-feed subscribers, so these results have to be combined with the loyal readers who stay updated through the RSS feeds. We had an increase from 20 readers to 30 readers this year, which is good news.

Search Terms
Among the direct search terms, like Team Sharkbait, Sanne Buurma and Jorg Jansen, other search terms found their way to our site as well:

  • monofin technique
  • how to hold your breath longer
  • pool cardio
  • speedo breast stroke fins
  • freediving tongelreep

Thank you for reading the blog and our stories. Also a big extra thank you to the commentors, I really like the feedback and it lets me know people are around to read the content. So don’t be shy and drop a comment on what you think about all that we write.

Improving my personal best performance

As I’m back into training again, working my way to a few personal bests, I’ll be scheduling and reporting about my training and progress towards personal goals.

Personal Bests
DYN_Accomplished.jpgThe personal bests I’m training to improve are my DYN: 125m, DNF: 109m, STA in competition: 5m 33s. To achieve these goals I make use of different training exercises and techniques, which consist of:

  • Dry-walks
  • Dry-statics
  • Statics
  • Crawl without breath
  • DNF/Breaststroke technique
  • MAX-attempts in all 3

Exceeding PB’s
I want to exceed my personal bests within the next 4 months, this time I will not be focussing on a set distances or time. I will have my focus on doing maximum attempts again and thus improving my personal bests.

200706_Project13_Training.jpgWhy this change in approach?” you might ask. Well; In the past few months I’ve been looking back at why I cease to do maximum attempts. I believe one of my restraints is my mind not allowing me to perform to my limits. When looking back on the past year; I’ve seen myself  perform in competitions and everytime I’m in a competition it looks like I’m backing out on my own beliefs and set out paths.

mind1.jpgJorg, Marieke and I have been trying to pinpoint the reason why I’m backing out of it. Where I have to conclude that it includes a certain fear for blacking out and performing badly in front of a crowd. Although I’m only training for personal bests, my mind is always aware of the fact that a bad performance is witnessed and going over the top is a thing I’m not willing to experience.

So how to find a balance in all of this is my main question I’ll be struggling with this next period. Because my body might be ready for a good performance, but how will I convince myself to actually do that max performance?

twitter_logo.pngI will write about my progress and for the short updates right after training or the morning after I’ll be using Twitter to communicate the results of the training. I added the twitter feature to the site in the Mini-Blog on the right in the main section, this is where the latest training news appears.

Schedule / Upcoming events
I will be scheduling and planning my training sessions through Google Calendar which is also available on this site, view this public calendar or you can subscribe to the shark-bait calendar with your own Google-account by adding it with the button on the bottom-right.

Here’s a preview from the upcoming days in training:

Stay up to date through the rss-feeds or by reading this site.