I’ve never done anything like it before so decided to turn up to the comp ranking session to see what’s involved.
The ‘Slow 25m’ was expected by me to be all about breath hold skills and this was proven wrong. The rule of neutral weight at 3m and not touching the bottom mean it is difficult to swim very slow at the shallow end. To stay midwater you need to move much quicker than you prefer and everyone had the same challenge. Buoyancy control and technique with a touch of breath hold skill might determine who will win this event and it will require a lot of practice. This practice should be very useful for spearfishing as the controlled slow motion, dive profile and dive times were more like an ocean hunt rather than a limit apnoea event. Will be interesting to see the strategies and techniques everyone develops as the event evolves.
Fast 50m. There was some variety in underwater swimming technique used on the grading night. Power and how to use it seemed to be the key and (again) breath-hold was less important. Danny stood out and headed the field using his well-rehearsed efficient technique: he will have many copying his style and it will take a lot of practice.
Surface 150m. Gerard created a wave as he showed us all how a real ‘A’ grader does it by setting the only sub 2 minute time and some were close enough to see we will have a real competition. Declaring ‘I’m buggered already’ at the 75m mark seemed to be a common cry and with even the slowest time (mine) under 3 minutes it’s not a long distance event. Like normal swimming a combination of power, fitness and technique would seem to be required. Doing more laps in the pool should see times come down through the season, and it may be that we are yet to see the one best way of turning and streamlining (and in my case, keeping hold of my snorkel).
The evening saw many asking about the rules and what is and is not allowed, we may see some refinements emerge over the coming week though it feels like the current rules offer a decent competition without much adjustment. Each of the events has its own need of special skill and physical condition so with the format in place we can expect to see the non-competition days begin to focus on these events. Last night was a good start and with the first competition date next week fin swimming at GFD will quickly hot up. Well done to Luke and the committee for putting this together.