Tag Archives: Freediving

Water & Web Update

Water firmly attached to the Gene pool - My Son Rody and Daughter Indy

On Thursday Bertrand, Sanne and I went in the water again. While Bertrand had seen plenty of water in the last weeks, it has been a while since Sanne and I put our heads below the water surface. To be exact, almost 3 months without any pool training.

After last weeks surprise of a decent dry static, I was pretty eager to go to the pool and experience some more freediving feelings like that. Arriving in the pool we set out our own private lane and I started with some neutral statics at 5 meter depth, the bottom of the pool. It felt pretty good to be under again and relax and look around at the scubbies and snorkelers.

Three deep statics later it was time to put some motion in it and I started walking across the bottom of the pool. Still fun to do and almost as relaxing as the statics. After that it was time for some dynamic without fins and wow, that felt really really bad. So bad in fact that after two tries my positive feeling was completely gone and I was thinking of going home again. I just don’t know, something felt really wrong after those dynamics. The breath hold crawls to test things out still felt the same as 3 months before, but this dynamic thing, I don’t know…

In fact two days later I’m still thinking what to do with it. Should I start training again, or will I just keep to some recreational outdoor freediving and that’s it. Lets see what next week will bring. Maybe I will only do some crawls for the rest of the year, or maybe just stick to some statics at the bottom. So yeah, got some motivational issues at the moment ­čśë

On another note, I’ve been pretty busy restoring the old posts on the Sharkbait website. Links to websites and other posts were wrong, pictures were missing, etc. I fixed everything from the beginning to┬áJanuary┬á2008 at the moment and my plan is to slowly fix the whole archive. Over the years we wrote already more then 250+ blog posts here and it’s sometimes very inspirational to look back and see what we did some years back. I’ll give an update when I’m┬ácompletely┬ádone with the monk work

In the last few weeks Sanne and I have also been discussing about how to continue with Team Sharkbait and what to write about and slowly the ideas are getting clearer and clearer, so expect an update on that as well.

Dry Summer

Autumn has already started and my deep freediving counter says ‘1’. I’ve never did so little depth freediving as this year! And still the dive I did, together with Bertrand and Sanne was great! So much fun and no problems reaching the same bottom as last years end of season, also slightly less relaxed then before.

From January till the July we did our weekly freediving pool training, even sometimes two times a week. Pool space is open again for us since two weeks, but I still have to start with pool training again.

Is it lack of motivation? Not for freediving! During my holiday visit to Turkey with the family I did several ‘freedives’ over there, but it was limited to ‘deep snorkeling’ due to absence of a buddy who could spot me. But for sure the depth was pulling again.

Maybe it was just time to sharpen the saw once again. Once lesson I’ve learned since that I started freediving in 1997 is that sometimes you have to listen to your body and don’t push things. Just wait until you ‘need’ it again.

Well, that feeling is coming I guess! Tonight I did a dry static out of nowhere while watching a nice Snowskating movie. First try was a 2 minute hold and felt really bad and I was immediately having negative thoughts about quitting. But after a 10 minute rest I decided to try it again and did 3:51 minutes without any noticeable contractions. Was that 4 minute mark still in reach? After a 5 minute rest I tried again and 4:07 seconds later I was a happy man!

Now I need to find a way to bring these dry static times into the water once again. Because in the water I still suck big time with statics. Oh yeah, and it would be nice to try our monofin again! It’s been a while, but it’s not the end, only a new beginning.

Time for distance training

“Once the technique is dialed in, it’s time for getting some distance in with the monofin.”

…And that time is now, because the past few weeks we’ve been experimenting with technique and alignment, but both seem to be working out good enough to get into some practice. Last night and the past 2 weeks I’ve already dialed in some distance with the monofin, but in the next weeks it’s time to up the distance. Not the performance distance, but many many meters getting used to the monofin on my feet and getting the technique dialed into the core.

Getting ready for the turn

It’s a good thing to see that since we purchased the new glide monofin, we’ve booked a lot of progress in both technique and alignment. Our previous monofin just wasn’t made for this kind of use… Besides the new monofin, I also used the Blue Seventy suit to see how that influenced distance and technique. I think the suit influences both in a positive way. So I think I’ll be alternating between making distance with and without the suit, where I think that without the suit will bring me more strength and with the suit will help me get used to swimming with it.

Old School Freediving

Our Hardcore Trainings Pool

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Yesterday evening me, Sanne and Bertrand were forced into freediving between the recreational swimmers. And instead of just putting on our monofin and making a bloodbath between the swimmers with lost finger, toes, or worse, we decided to give ourselves a real old school freediving training once again.

My body was still hurt from the snowboarding of the day before, but men did the training feel good! I can’t help it to just like those intense freediving trainings where you really gasp for air, build up Co2 till headache, burn your legs until you can’t move them anymore. All in all it was great again.

The combination of Apnea crawls, back kicks, different strokes and breathing patterns and around 1200 meter covered underwater felt painful but good. Bertrand is new in our group, but he managed to do an excellent job! Finally someone who is not only able to complete such a training, but even enjoys it as much as Sanne and me. He even managed to do 4 laps of relaxed underwater swimming with his bi-fins in the end! Good stuff and motivational to watch him continue.

We have to do this a lot more!

What Just Happened?

Was it flow? Or did I just cheat time itself?

Today I was looking back at the week and I noticed that somehow I didn’t do any freediving at all. The Tuesday swimming sessions with Sanne haven’t take place at all during the last week, this due to a planning conflict between this session and my son’s skateboarding lessons. And the Thursday training got canceled due to the fact that Sanne was very late at home after some hours in a traffic jam and me being totally depleted from energy because of a family trip to the swimming pool.

So, while the sun was shining hard this afternoon, I decided to fill up the blanks with some dry walks, while my son was riding in the┬áskate park. After sitting on a bench for 2 minutes and breathing lightly I started with my first walk. Normal pace and just strolling along. After 45 seconds I got my first contraction and stopped. It felt terrible, as usual. I walked back to the bench and prepared again for 4 minutes. Started walking and at 43 seconds I got my first contraction and at 48 seconds I just couldn’t hold it anymore. This time it felt even worse and I almost pissed in my pants. Why am I doing this?

Back to the bench and forget about the dry walks! Just relax, enjoy the sun and watch my son skateboard. What a great day, I was thinking. After 20 minutes or so, and nearly falling asleep, I was thinking about why my dry walks always suck so much. I just don’t know why this is. I decided to do one more dry walk, but this time I would stop at the contraction and I wouldn’t promise myself that I would go on a little longer. Just walk until contraction and that’s it!

Instead of using the bicycle lane, I know decided to walk around the skatepark, and instead of looking down the whole time I decided to look at my son and what was happening in the busy skatepark. With the same speed I started the walk, just enjoying the sun, the people, everything. After a lap of walking I felt the contraction coming and stopped the timer. I just couldn’t believe it when I looked at my stopwatch. 1:35 minutes. What just happened?

In complete disbelief I walked back the exact route and the time was correct. My best dry walk time ever was 1:25 minutes from 6 years ago or so. And I remember that one as one of the most painful breath holds ever! And now… no pain, no contractions, nothing! And this time? I guess this was one of those famous ‘flow’ performances, the one that happens only every thousand times, the one where I ‘lost’ time. I just hope that it will happen to me again in the next session… ­čśë

Monofin training distance

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Since last weeks training the distance of 87,5 meters is the set distance to go by for the coming 2 weeks after the holiday. Yestrday night and last tuesday I did them without any real problems and my mindset was prepared for a distance like that. I like to keep it that way and start freediving with a comfortable distance and build from there. If I up the distance to a new one it’ll be somewhere around 90-95 meters the next distance after that must be 105-110 meters, as I don’t want to end a run at the wall. Mentally a bad thing to have and I’ll keep in mind the words “a wall is there to make a turn” which I believe are the words from Danny Matherus.

Getting comfortable with the new monofin is the best thing that is happening at the moment. The technique is developing itself every time I try a new run and will only become more effective as I make more meters. The one thing that is making it uncomfortable at the moment is the neckweight. Because of the natural body reflex of making a contraction to get some air in, it also initiates the muscles in my neck to tense and by doing so the neckweight’s fit becomes unpleasant. Even if I would loosen the neckweight’s fit, it will still ‘choke’ me because my arms are pushing against them. So I have to start focussing on perfecting the design for my own weight system again and start training with that.

Overall I’m very pleased with the new monofin and training strategy, besides that it’s great to teach some diver students (who join us on Thursdays) the basics and fundamentals of freediving.

Keep Going Strong

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Just back from todays freediving training in the pool. Felt great again. The first dynamic run still feels the hardest, but after that I can start enjoying again.

All the training is starting to really work. Today for the first time I did a kick-kick-kick-glide cycle and still felt relaxed. Normally I would tense up during the glide section of the cycle, but this time everything stayed easy and fine.

It takes me 3 cycles and 20 seconds for a 25 meter lap. So that is 9 kicks in total. If I do a continuous kick cycle I need 15-16 kicks to complete the lap. So this is a big win. Keep in mind that Sanne and I are making very small kicks as opposed to some other people who prefer it another way.

All in all pretty good training once again. Sanne is really getting in shape with his monofin and I’m wondering how soon he will be doing the same distance as he always did with his bi-fins, but this time without any stress. ­čśë

Some other news that the Dutch visitors will probably like: from now on I’ll put a Dutch translation of my posts on the Shark Sports Sharkbait website. Different URL, different language, same content.

Grueling CO2 and dynamic turns

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It is always a good thing to train with other freedivers once and a while, which made me decide to visit the pool in Zeist again for a freediving training. I joined up with Eric van Riet Paap at 19:45 yesterday and we started out with a static session to be followed by a dynamic session later in the evening.

Eric had been making schedules for CO2 to go along his static times, as for today he wanted to do his “7,5 minute”-CO2 table. I agreed to try and do this schedule as well, just for the challenge of it, because it has been a while since a did a real good CO2 schedule. We started with a warm-up of empty lungs statics and I was very pleased with my results on that since this had been a while as well. Eric did nice empty lungs statics around 2m 10s and I was able to pull off a 1m 54s empty lung static.

In the meantime the other freedivers joined us, Rik R├Âsken, Danny Matherus, Erik Skoda and Rem. On to the schedule ┬╗ First to go was Eric and he managed to do this grueling schedule without any bail outs or real problems. So respect for that! After that I was given the opportunity to give it a try. The first part went good and the first increase in time didn’t pose a problem. Then came the second increase in time and I just had too much trouble getting there in combination with an upcoming headache, that I decided that this schedule is for another time to finish. Just like Eric said, these things you have to build up to a level like this. None the less this was an awesome training and felt so good to be doing a proper CO2 training again.

After the schedule we both did a maximum static to see how the CO2 table influenced the contractions. Eric and I both did a respectable time without real problems, for 4m 31s for Eric and 4m 44s for myself.

For myself I had the goals I set in my last post, to reach 87,5 meters and see how easy that feels and always do a turn at 75m even if it’s just the turn. Eric had a similair kind of set up for his training, so we decided to take turns at our set distances. Eric first did a nice 100 meter with a turn and was very pleased with the overall feel, improvement points for himself were the turnpoints. After that I did a 87,5 meter dynamic and it actually felt like something to train with the coming period. We both went at it again and succeeded in doing that extra turn at the end. Pleased with the results I called it a day and went home and just made it there before midnight.

I like to thank Eric and his fellow freedivers for having me over, it was a great learning experience and good overall results to feel good about.

Repetitive training & technique

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That was some proper training at the Tongelreep, Eindhoven last night. Both Jorg and I had been planning to continue the good training from the week before, so we were determined to get the alignment on the next level by getting some distance in.

Distance not in the maximum performance, but in just set distances and more repetitions. Jorg set his schedule to 37,5 meters and repeated this 4 times. I set my distance at 75 meters and repeated this 2 times. I think I should up the repetitions before upping the distance, but I am still to find the right distance to improve from. I’m thinking to up the set distance to 87,5 meters for several reasons:

  • I always have to make the turn
  • I surface at the side edge of the pool
  • Winning the mental game towards a wall

I have noticed that technique also improves my freediving time as follows: When I do the constant cycle of kicking, it will take about 17 seconds for 25 meters and when I do the kick-kick-kick-glide, it will take about 20-21 seconds for 25 meters. Later in the training I did the kick-kick-kick-glide again and now the technique was better because of a constant motion in the complete cycle, now the time was around 18-19 seconds for 25 meters. Same effort more speed… I have to focus on getting into the proper technique straight away for the motion cycle.

I’ve included the video from last training for Lubomir Stefanoff to see the progress on the alignment better.


Alright the goals for next training are set then ;). I’ll be doing 2 or 3 times a 87,5 meters dynamic with monofin and see if this can be a thing I get consistent in. Rest of the training will focus on technique runs and times 25 and 50 meter runs.

Upping the CWB schedule

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The CWB training progresses in a good way, yesterday I upped the schedule to starting 1min. 45sec., where as last week I started every 2 minutes to do 50 meter lanes. I did 4 lanes and noticed that the last time my legs were not giving me any propulsion, so I had to rely on the last few meters crawling only with my arms. So the focus for next week should be keeping the time at 1m45s, but then trying to do more lanes, testing and pushing my legs for more. Hopefully the recuperation time will be sufficient to let me continue doing 5 or 6 lines of 50m CWB.

Jorg also upped his schedule and made it worth his time as well. After the schedule of 25 meters, I spotted for him while he did a few maximum attempts of CWB. Starting out with about 30 seconds of CWB, he upped it by grueling himself to 39 seconds and about 44 meters CWB. Good intense training where the mental factor was the winner for Jorg.

After the nice schedules it was time for some small monofin technique training. Without any weights and holding the arms alongside the body, we tried training for the proper execution of the motion. The points I have to work on are trying to start the motion in the pelvis area, where I now start the motion somewhere half-way my back, it should start at the pelvis and then work the rest.