For 6 straight weeks, our Zen Freediving competition squad trained really hard. Immensely hard. We came together as a team each training and pushed each other to go beyond what we imagined we could do, to find out what we could actually do. It was these 6 weeks of gruelling preparation that culminated in our team’s amazing performance in Singapore’s premier freediving competition, the Singapore Freediving Open.
For many of our Zenners (myself included), this was our first ever freediving competition. The experience proved to be a great one, but it was also a whirlpool of emotions from start to finish. My pre-competition anxiety woke me up multiple times the night before my dive and refused to go away even as I warmed up and breathed up before my official top. But when I held my breath for my actual dive and remembered that I was doing exactly what I had repeated countless times during training, the jitters stopped. I felt calm, even relaxed. And when I re-surfaced after my dive and managed to perform my surface protocol without messing it up, relief washed over me. To top off the whole emotional ride, seeing the white card from the judges for my performance gave me the most incredible feeling. I have never been more stoked.
But while my dive had finished, many of our team had yet to complete theirs. Each time a fellow Zenner exceeded their PB and kept going, the same uneasy mix of excitement and anxiety would fill the air, only to erupt in joyful celebration when the PB dives ended in white cards. Admittedly, when the dives were met with red cards instead of white, disappointment took the place of jubilation. We are proud and pleased to say, however, that instances of the former far outnumbered the latter.
While the official competition results are based on individual performance, our stellar performance in this competition was truly a team effort. We could not have done it without the coaches who guided us through the surface protocol when we were hypoxic; our fellow dive buddies who jumped down the first time to place our re-surface distance marker and a second time to retrieve it, all so we don’t get disqualified; and of course, our fellow Zenners who cheered us on to do our very best.
Personally, the most satisfying thing about this competition experience was realizing my own ability to calm down, relax and enjoy my breath-hold even with my heart beating like crazy from nervousness and anxiety. Not to mention the shivering cold temperature 27°C of the competition pool. It is a lesson that that us freedivers can carry through to other aspects of our lives. When everything is going against you, don't fight against it. Rather, accept things as they are, remain calm and get the best out of the situation.
Overall, this competition was an awesome and happy experience for all our Zenners, whether they were competitors, coaches, or fellow free divers supported us in person or even from the FB live video. In the end, we all came out of the competition as better and stronger free divers.
May the competition next year be even more awesome than the already super awesome one this year.
Peace out ✌!!!