The selection is based on international competition results across all major pool and open water disciplines. Competitive freediving is the sport of diving underwater on a single breath, as long, far or as deep as possible. It requires an exceptional level of commitment to training as well as travelling across the world to participate in the leading depth competitions.
Both David and Georgina are UK-based freedive instructors with a lot of experience. Georgina has a long history of competitive freediving for Great Britain and has held multiple national records, while David is a newcomer to competitive freediving, participating in his first competitions this year – obviously, he has seen a huge success in both pool and depth. Georgina has held her breath for 6 minutes 36 seconds in static apnea and dived to a depth of 56m in constant weight to win this award, and David has dived to 60m deep in the free immersion category, with a static apnea breath hold of 5 minutes 48 seconds – incredible results.
Georgina said: “I’m really pleased to get this award. It is pretty challenging to get competition points across all six disciplines. Fitting in time to train around work teaching freediving is always a tricky balance, especially as pool space is so limited here in Cornwall, but it’s fun to try to practice all the disciplines! The cold waters of the UK are not always the easiest, but it does help to be able to dive as much as we can in the summer. We have a wonderful community of freedivers to help motivate and support us and meet some incredible, inspirational people, so I feel very lucky to be able to do this. I would really like to thank Daan Verhoeven for all of his knowledge and endless support, Porthkerris Divers for the space to practice and teach, and my mum for the dog-sitting while we are away.” Georgina and Daan Verhoeven run Aquacity Freediving (www.aquacityfreediving.com) out of Porthkerris in Cornwall.
David said: “I only really entered my first comp back in March because I thought as an instructor it might be good to have some competition experience. I had no expectations of how I would do, but the feeling of euphoria I got after my dives just blew me away. I loved the training and healthy diet leading up to the comp and then meeting lots of really cool supportive people on the day just made for a fantastic experience. I got the bug and was straight on the AIDA International website looking for the next comp. In a funny kind of way, I like all six disciplines, I think you can take elements from each one of them and transfer parts of them mentally and physically and adapt them in a way to give you confidence to achieve your aims.”
Photographs by Daan Verhoeven and Markus Dirschl