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Freediver Focus
the dive response continues so much for the physiology…
to shut down our system in what does it feel like? Well, i can
stages in order to maximise our only speak for myself, but it is a
chances of survival; peripheral wholly pleasant and not in the
vasoconstriction pushes the least bit frightening experience.
blood from our arms and legs as i reach the end of my dive,
into our core to centre o2 gradually getting weaker and
provision around the vital organs light-headed, i start to drift off
(heart, lungs and brain); after a mentally and all three times have
while the spleen contracts and had very pleasant, vivid dreams. i
releases o2-rich blood into the never have any panic to breathe
system; as the lungs continue or stress about not reaching the
to constrict under pressure, the surface. all my black-outs have
blood vessels surrounding the happened at either 2m from, or
airspaces swell and fill with more even - most frustratingly - on the
blood. our most vital organ is surface. the first sense to return
undeniably the is hearing, so i
brain. our body’s
“noone has died from
become aware
final job, it’s most
competitive freediving. Not
of the voices of
pressing priority,
a single person, not one. The
my safety divers
is to protect the
reason for this being is that
around me. then, i
brain, which is
we NEVER dive alone.”
realise that people
what the black- are holding my
out is all about. upper body and
head, and at that stage, i begin
also known as ‘shallow-water
to realise what has happened
black-outs’ they occur in the final
- i didn’t make the dive, but i’m
part of the ascent, mostly within
safe. in every single video of my
5m of the surface, although they
black-outs, i have a huge grin
have been known to occur as
on my face the moment i open
deep as 20m. as the pressure
my eyes. i’m doing what i love,
reduces on the body, with
i’ve attempted a dive and for
increasing speed as we near the
some reason, not quite made it. i
surface, our lungs are rapidly
don’t see a black-out as a failure,
expanding again, and in order
more like vital feedback on what
to do so, will draw gasses from
i need to work on or change for
the blood stream back into
next time. the support i receive
them - some of this may well
is always so heart-warming and
be o2, with already severely
whether i black-out or not, a
depleted o2 saturation levels.
competitive dive and the whole
the brain monitors the oxygen
environment and experience is
saturation levels in the blood,
something that i have grown to
and when it detects the levels
absolutely love.
are approaching those where
the brain may suffer damage, it of course a black-out is not
takes a seemingly drastic action something i wish to do ever
of shutting down the body again if possible, but knowing
- this brilliant shut-off prevents that it is not dangerous, and
us from working and using any not unpleasant, it is also not
more oxygen, thereby protecting something that will hold me
our most vital organ. providing back from continuing to strive,
we are quickly brought to the from getting back in the water
surface with our airways clear and attempting 100m again. i
of the water, the nerve endings am now working with a fabulous
in our cheeks, which started the olympic coach, Jon pitts (www.
whole amazing process off, will, courtesy of my
detect we are back and we start newest sponsor, taming tigers
to breathe entirely naturally ( - which
once more. if you ever watch a is run by the man i have recently
black-out, you may see the safety got engaged to!) and together
divers blowing and tapping on i feel confident that we will find
the divers face - this is to provide the elements we need to work
additional stimulation to those on to make my third attempt at
nerve endings to stimulate 100m the lucky one.
breathing in the most natural
and gentle way. resuscitation is
rarely needed.
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