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September 07 , 2008


US Freediving Team Kicks Off the AIDA Team Freediving World Championships with a Record Setting Performance by Jessica Wilson.

The 2008 AIDA Team Freediving World Championships static apnea event saw a new US National Record setting performance by Jessica Wilson.  She held her breath for six minutes and thirty-five seconds.  This surpasses her previous record of six minutes and thirty seconds set at the 2006 AIDA Team Freediving World Championships.  This performance will help keep the US Women’s Freediving Team fight for a podium spot alive.  The team is currently in third after the Constant Weight event.

Jessica’s performance was realized during the first of two days of static apnea competition.  The static competition took place in the pool at the Sharm Sports Club in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Jessica stated, “It felt so easy.  I had more in me, but it is a team championship year, so it is about the points.  I did not want to push to the limit. ”

Jessica is one of four women that make up the team.  Annabel Edwards, Jessica’s mother and former world record freediver, is on the team.  The remaining team members are US National Record holder, Julie “Jewels” Russell, and Ashley Futral.  The US Men’s Freediving Team is also participating in the event.  The team consists of current US National Record holder Robert King, current US National Champion Craig Gentry, Jared Schmelzer, and Michael Antinori.

The AIDA Team Freediving World Championships is a biannual event that tests nations to send their best four male and female athletes to compete as a male and female team.  Three athletes and one alternate make up each team.  Three freediving disciplines are contested in depth, time and distance of apnea.  This year’s event is being hosted by Apnea Academy Egypt with over fifteen nations participating.

The depth event is known as Constant Weight and requires the athlete to freedive with fins or a mono fin on a single breath to a prescribed depth and return with a tag.  The time event is a pure breath hold for a maximum time with the athlete lying face down in a pool, known as Static Apnea.  The distance event is known as Dynamic Apnea and requires the athlete to swim on one breath with fins or a mono fin as far as they can while submerged in a pool.

The team championships differs from most freediving competitions because it awards the team with the highest point total from three athletes in three disciplines rather than individual performances.  This requires teams to plan and strategize performances to ensure that the maximum point totals are achieved and to not risk disqualification by any team member.  Disqualification in even a single discipline results in zero points for that performance and can move a team down the ranking list dramatically.  The team that is able to field three athletes that do well in all three disciplines rather than one or two tends to rank very well. 

The USAA is a nonprofit association founded on the democratic representation of freediving within the United States and internationally.  Founded in 2003, the USAA consists of an active membership dedicated to furthering freediving in the United States and abroad. For more information about the USAA, the U.S. National Freediving Team, and membership please visit

The International Association for the Development of Freediving, AIDA, is the international sanctioning body for freediving, individual and team competition, and freediving world record attempts.  For more information about AIDA please visit


Contact Information:

Grant W. Graves, President
United States Apnea Association, USAA

3642 Seahorn Dr.
Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: 310-560-6104

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Pictures provided by Rebecca Garrett, Deron Verbeck, Tec Clark and Jon Zeaman.