Since there waters around Stockholm are still covered with crispy ice, we decided to hold the first freediving course for the year inside at the Swedish National Swimming Arena - Eriksdalsbadet.
We started of with the theory - the physiology and physics of freediving, breathing techniques, equalisation and mental techniques. Followed by the theoretical examination, where 80% is the requirement to pass. They all did very well! Must be (partly) because of the professional and talented instructors!
The students were asked not to drink coffee, alcohol and eat more antioxidants 48 h before the course, in order to boost their freediving capacity (coffee and alcohol increases the pulse, which is not beneficial for freediving).
After the theory we did a comprehensive session of breathing gymnastics, breathing exercises, diaphragm stretching and breath holding (dry static). We also measured the students lung capacity (vital capacity) with a spirometer, before and after the stretching in order for them get a comparable result. They all increased their lung capacity after the stretching, likely due to less stiffness and also after learning how to take a proper full inhale and exhale breath.
Before going into the pool for the practical training and requirements, we looked at the equipment for freediving - the long fins, flexible and warm neoprene wetsuits, weightbelts and different low volume masks. The sport as such does not require much equipment, most vital are your lungs and head! But you can, as in all sports, spend as much or little as you wish on certain specialised gadgets. Such as a custom made carbon monofin or super fast and comfortable open cell neoprene wetsuits....
Since safety is a vital part of freediving, whereas never freedive alone is the number one rule, we spent quite some time going through the rescue and safety procedures for divers and the diver's buddy (mandatory safety partner). This involves learning how to rescue your friend/fellow diver in a pool (shallow and deep), how to react and revive her/him.
The pool requirements involves swimming (freestyle), DYN (fining with bifins under water), DNF (swimming under water without fins) and STA (static breathhold in the pool). Everyone did very well and were quite exhausted, and Happy, after a full day of freediving!