29 Jun Greetings From Serbia by John Hullverson
An account by USA’s John Hullverson of the action in Serbia. Enjoy!!
Hi Everybody—Greetings from Belgrade, Serbia. Thanks for your well wishes! Here’s an update:
130 of the best freediving athletes from all over the world have come for this World Championship and I’m just happy to be here with them, and to be able to represent the good ol’ USofA, with a chance to break my own US DNF record on my birthday– June 21st!
I didn’t hold very high hopes, though, as the weather turned unseasonably cold and the pool has been a chilly 73°, which as you know is not at all good for free diving, especially in a .25 mil suit! The cold water meant I had to shorten my usual warm up routine so I was a little nervous going in, but c’est la vie.
The luck of the draw put me in the lane next to the world record holder, Matheuz Malina from Poland, so no pressure there. Hah! I figured if my dive went south, i could just grab onto his ankle and he could tow me to glory.
Coming into the comp, I had my sights set on anything above the record 142m, but in the last couple days due to the conditions, I was frankly hoping just to be able to do 100+ and not embarrass myself and US Freediving!
The first 2 lengths went about as usual, meaning everything feels fine, but you start wanting to breathe as you approach the 50 meter mark. That’s when you’ve got to rely on strength of mind to overcome the body’s urge to breathe. I turned again at 75 and headed for 100 feeling that I was getting “over the hump”. That’s where you get a little hypoxic after about 2 minutes of swimming and the dive actually starts to feel easier…sort of. It’s both a blessing and a warning at this point. Anyway, I turned at 100 and again at 125, heading for the home wall at 150 and if I get there, a new U.S. National Record by 8 meters!
Well…I got there and surfaced, after about a 3 minute swim, but in the pretty hypoxic state I was in, I removed my goggles and nose clip and gave the OK signal and then, just to be sure, I removed the second set of goggles and nose clip before giving the verbal “I’m OK.” The judges here are very experienced and expertly realized i was not actually wearing two sets of goggles, and thus…RED CARD. Booooooo!!!
Oh well, a new record on my birthday would have been Super Legal, but I can’t say I’m disappointed at all. I bettered my previous personal best by 8 meters and came within a goggle or two of a clean white card. I’m pretty happy. Plus it’s possible I’ll get another chance in between official rounds of the competition to take another shot at the record, so who knows, I may get there yet.
Anyway, That’s all the news from Belgrade. Carla and i are having a blast. Thanks again for your well wishes and i miss being with you all!
ll commentary and opinions in this post are exclusively of the author, Ashley Chapman. They do not reflect the opinions of the USFA, Evolve Freediving, or any other associated organization or people mentioned.