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April 28, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

US Freediving National Champions Crowned

Kona, Hawaii.  The United States Apnea Association (USAA) has completed the 2010 US Freediving National Championships crowning Kurt Chambers and Jessica Wilson as National Champions.  The competition was conducted over four days in Kona, Hawaii, USA.  The competition challenged competitors to test their abilities in breath-hold diving for maximum time, distance and depth. 

The competition opened on Thursday, April 24, 2010 with depth diving off the coast of Kona, Hawaii in Honaunau Bay.  Conditions were ideal.  Athletes were able to select from three diving disciplines: Constant Weight, Free Immersion, and Constant No Fins.  Jessica completed a Constant Weight dive to sixty meters (196 feet) and Kurt made a Constant Weight dive to sixty-three meters (206 feet) turning early from his declared depth of seventy meters (229 feet).  Australian competitor Jasmine Bastow set two Australian Women’s National Records in Free Immersion and Constant Weight No Fins.

Day two of the competition was slated for Static Apnea.  Jack’s Diving Locker hosted the event in its training pool.  (http://www.jacksdivinglocker.com)  Competitors test their ability to hold their breath for time.  This occurs in the shallow end of the pool with the competitors floating at the surface.  Kurt completed a performance of six minutes and eighteen seconds and Jessica finished with six minutes and twenty-five seconds.  Ant Judge of Australia was the top performer with six minutes and thirty-two seconds.

Competitors have forty-five minutes to warm up and prepare for their performances.  When the time comes to compete, the athletes receive a two-minute count down.  They must begin their attempt within ten seconds of reaching zero on their count down or they receive penalty points.  Competitors hold their breath for as long as they can, while still being able to surface without any loss of consciousness or control of their performance.  Safety is checked as the competitor progresses through their hold via signals from the athlete to a safety supervisor that is next to the competitor in the water.

Day three had the athletes slated to compete in depth again.  The athletes were able to choose from the three depth disciplines.  Kurt Chambers bettered his previous dive with a mark of sixty-five meters (213 feet).  Jessica took the day off from diving to perform duties as the event nurse.  Annabel Edwards, Jessica’s mother, completed a Constant Weight dive to fifty-six meters (184 feet) making a nice second effort after a first day blackout. 

Leo Muraoka set a new US Masters Record with a Constant Weight dive of sixty-five meters (213 feet) using bi fins.  Most athletes use a mono fin that joins both feet together connected to a single large blade.  Kevin Busscher set a new US Masters Record in Constant No Fins with a dive to 31 meters (102 feet).  The USAA is the only AIDA National that recognizes Masters Records for those athletes over fifty years of age. 

Jasmine Bastow continued her national record streak with an Australian Record in Constant Weight.  Following the dives the athletes and staff had a beach party. 

The competition was using a counter balance system for the down line that the athletes would use for their dives.  The athlete wears a safety lanyard that connects them to the down line.  The down line has a large disk on the bottom making it impossible for the athlete to become separated from the down line.  The safety divers have the ability to raise the entire competition line should an athlete be delayed in their return to the surface.  The system is designed to also allow for the entire competition line to be raised to the surface by releasing the weight opposite the competition line connected through the counter balance system.  This weight pulls the opposite end of the competition line through a set of pulleys lifting the competition line and athlete to the surface should anything go wrong. 

Day four was the distance day.  Kona’s community pool served as the host for the dynamic day event. (Swimming for distance while holding your breath with or without fins.)  Jessica completed a performance of 136 meters (433 feet) exceeding her personal best.  Kurt completed a swim of 123 meters (403 feet).  Annabel Edwards at fifty-eight years young set a new US National Record with a swim of 143 meters (469 feet).

The Dynamic swims secured the national championship title for both Jessica and Kurt.  The highest point total for the disciplines of Static Apnea, Dynamic Apnea, and Constant Weight combined are declared the winner.  Jessica said, “ I was satisfied with my performances in the competition under the circumstances and am very happy to have won the title of National Champion again.”  Kurt said, “I'm in debt to the head organizer, Annabel, and the rest of the "Kona crew" for putting on yet another great and memorable event.”

All who participated enjoyed the competition.  Annabel Edwards who also worked to organize the event said, “Just organizing any competition is hard enough but the problems that had to be solved, with lots of help from the safety divers and boat captain, took a lot out of me. Then I had to recover from the black out of the first day. So I don't really know how I pulled off a big dynamic swim on the last day…  Everyone had a great time in spite of some difficulties.”

USAA will be selecting the 2010 US Freediving Team on May 2, 2010.  The team will compete at the AIDA Team Freediving World Championships in Okinawa, Japan at the end of June.  For more information about World Championships checkout http://www.aida2010.net/english/.

Full results and performances are listed on the website.  www.usfreediving.org

Constant Weight (CWT) challenges the athlete to swim to depth and back with the use of fins or a mono fin under their own power while holding their breath.  The athlete is not allowed to contact the competition line other than to recover their tag at depth while turning.  Upon reaching the surface the athlete must perform a surface protocol within fifteen seconds of their return to the surface.  Constant Weight is one of the most respected and contested disciplines in freediving.

Free Immersion (FIM) is the freediving discipline that requires the athlete to pull their way to depth and back using their hands to pull down and up the competition line.  The athlete recovers a bottom tag and returns it to the surface where they must complete a surface protocol for the judges.

Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) tests the freediver’s ability to swim to depth and return without the use of fins while holding their breath.  CNF is one of the most difficult disciplines in freediving.  Athletes use a modified breaststroke technique to propel themselves to depth and back. 

Static Apnea (STA) tests the athlete’s ability to hold their breath for time.  The athlete lays face down in the shallow end of a pool with a coach providing for safety signaling and timing.  Upon surfacing at the conclusion of their performance the athlete must perform a surface protocol by removing their facial equipment, signaling okay and saying, I am okay, to demonstrate he or she is in control of his or her performance.

Dynamic Apnea No Fins (DNF) is performed by swimming without fins in a pool with the athlete holding their breath swimming as far as they can.  Distance is measured with the use of a metered tape measure.  The pool must be at least twenty-five yards long for the performance to be valid.

Dynamic Apnea (DYN) is performed by swimming with fins in a pool with the athlete holding their breath swimming as far as they can.  Distance is measured with the use of a metered tape measure.  The pool must be at least twenty-five yards in length for the performance to be valid.

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 www.usfreediving.org.

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 http://www.aidainternational.org.

-END-

Images available upon request.

Contact Information:

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

3642 Seahorn Dr.
Malibu, CA 90265
Email: makog@aol.com
Phone: 310-560-6104

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