Archive for May, 2010

BFA selects Freediving Team for World Championships in Japan

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Japan hosts 2010 Team Worlds in Okinawa
 Wednesday 19th May 2010 : — The British Freediving Association (BFA) has made its selection for Team GB to represent the UK at the 2010 Freediving Team World Championships in Okinawa, Japan. The event will take place from 30th June until 10th July,and Team GB will be sponsored by Elios wetsuits, Fourth Element clothing, and Suunto.
The UK will be represented by three of the most experienced athletes in the country: Sam Still, Maria-Teresa Solomons and Suzanne Pugh, making up a mixed team, which will compete in the men’s category.
Sam Still burst on to the freediving scene back in 2005 when he became World Champion in static with a breathhold of 8:14. After being caught in the Dahab bombs he took a break but came back extremely strongly at the start of this year taking first place in the qualifying depth competition run by Sara Campbell in Dahab. With both impressive depth and time capacity Sam is a great all-rounder and British freediving is excited and proud to have him back.
Maria-Teresa Solomons is the second deepest female athlete in the country. Working and living in Baja California in Mexico, she teaches freediving and yoga and has impressive personal best and competition performances of 72m Constant Weight, 120m Dynamic and 6:02 Static. MT’s passion and dedication to the sport define her as a true athlete and we expect her to be a reliable and impressive member of the team.
Suzanne Pugh has been living in Hurghada for nine years and working as a freediving instructor for the past two years. She is a veteran of World competitions, having represented the country already in Hawaii 2002, Vancouver 2004 and Hurghada 2006. Suzanne’s wealth of experience should set her in good stead to make sound announcements and decisions on her performances, and we look forward to a full set of three white cards to boost the team’s overall results. For full athlete profiles, see attached documents.
Team World Championships are as much a test of strategy and teamwork as they are of elite performance. Just one black-out from a team member can jeopardise the final results for the entire team. Conservative performances are the wisest way to go, but in close calls between teams athletes can be tempted to push themselves to their limits for a chance of a medal – but push themselves too far and they push their team-mates off the rostrum completely. The pressure is massive and it is a thrilling event to watch.
Each athlete must compete in all three disciplines; Constant Weight (CWT) – depth diving with bi-fins or a monofin; Dynamic (DYN) – distance covered underwater diving in a pool also with bi-fins or a monofin; Static (STA) – pure breathhold face down in a pool without moving, with total points from all athletes across all disciplines adding up for the final results. World records in these disciplines currently stand at:
                        MEN               WOMEN
CWT               124m              96m
DYN                250m              225m
STA                11:35              8:23
Back in 2004, the British Team won silver medals at the World Championships in Vancouver. Sam Still was part of that team, being the then British Champion, he also broke two British records within the competition. It is likely that fielding a mixed team puts us out of the range of medals, but the athletes are attending to bring home solid personal performances and prove their consistency and ability to work as a team. We suspect also that they’re looking forward to the sushi and the opportunity to dive in the tropical Asian waters of Okinawa!
To follow the event visit : Updates will also be available at
Huge ‘thank you’s to our team sponsors Fourth Element, Suunto, Elios, and a mystery sponsor who contributed £1000 to the team’s expenses!
– ends –
For more information contact or call Sara Campbell on +20 12 744 5646 or 07949 005944. Please EMAIL if unable to reach her by phone and she will respond as soon as possible. Please don’t leave voicemail.
Sam Still
– how long have you been diving?
I’ve been officially Freediving, since 2001, so about 9 years, but have been holding my breath on and off all my life.
– what drives your passion for freediving?
The freedom it give me in the water.
– what do you hope to achieve in Japan (personal and team goals)?
white cards
– how do you deal with the pressure of international competition?
I treat it like any other dive I do.  I have also done the dive before ie training/practice
– favourite food?
Sushi, so I am really looking forward to my travels through Japan after the competition

– best place to dive?
Dorothea, consistent diving conditions, with lots of fun stuff to see. 
– PBs in CWT, DYN and STA
CWT 63m
DYN 142m
STA 5:39
– age, job, vital stats etc 😀
28 yrs. jobs various, mainly helping out friends with their companies.
Maria-Teresa Solomons
– how long have you been diving?
About 12 yrs with kid and family in-between!
– what drives your passion for freediving?
It is the falling into the glide and discovering the intense focus of the mind at any given moment. It’s time in slow motion. It’s discovering a pure form of meditation – It’s a feeling of liquid motion.
– what do you hope to achieve in Japan (personal and team goals)?
For me it is one step towards the bigger perspective of having made the journey over several months if not years to be here at this point. I haven;t really ever been able to dedicate time or energy into real training and my journey this time will have been just that. I want it to fulfill a sentiment of being together with a team that was nearly dissolved but kept together and I would love it to be the achievement of everyone ‘s personal goals with total support and with a fantastic element of togetherness. Making it work for each one of us regardless of ‘winning’!
– how do you deal with the pressure of international competition?
Not too great. I do not compete often enough and this will be a striving to come to an understanding of all that that is hopefully without being too hung up about the nerves. I would like to feel like an objective observer.
– favourite food?
Three or four colour combinations, mostly fresh and crisp – Fish/ Japanese
– best place to dive?
Any crystal clear blue, warm wild waters with whalesong or mantas! Here in the Baja isn;t bad!
– PBs in CWT, DYN and STA
CWT – 72m
DYN – 120m
STA – 6:02
– age, job, vital stats etc 😀
46 in October. I teach freediving and yoga/pranayama and take on any jobs which connect with the desert and sea here in the Baja! I am also trained in sports massage therapy and am developing my skills as an aquatic therapist. I am involved in a Bon Buddhist meditation group.
I am presently working on a project to create an art-form around freedive movement and ocean awareness, to cut a long story short!
Suzanne Pugh
– how long have you been diving? 
Scuba Diving for 14 years and Freediving for 9 years.
– what drives your passion for freediving? 
Being at one with the ocean and having the unique experience of so many underwater close encounters with the marine life.  Joining a Whale Shark for lunch, playing catch the coral with dolphins, staring competitions with Big Eye Jacks (they win).
– what do you hope to achieve in Japan (personal and team goals)?
Japan is a going to be a wonderful experience for all of us.  I look forward to competing for the UK again and seeing what Japanese waters have to offer!
how do you deal with the pressure of international competition? 
When I dive I have my own little bubble where everything else disappears and it is just the countdown and me.  I have been lucky enough to have some amazing team mates and coaches who guide me to where I need to be when I need to be there so I can just zone out and enjoy the breathhold.
– favourite food?
Cadbury’s chocolate, I am from Birmingham though so guess it was inevitable!
– best place to dive? 
 The Red Sea of course!  This is where I dive most of the time teaching new people the freediving way!  We have so many dive sites from the coast of Hurghada there is always something to see.  A Manta Ray from the boat just 2 days ago for example!
– PBs in CWT, DYN and STA
CWT 38 metres
DYN 83 metres
STA 4.58
– age, job, vital stats etc 😀
Age 30 something, stopped counting after 30 really.  Job: Freediving Instructor for FreediveEgypt based in Hurghada on the Red Sea Coast, spending time teaching, safety diving, guiding and introducing guests to the wonders of the Red Sea. A lot of time is also spent updating the website connecting to new customers and keeping in contact with other Freedivers all over the world via Facebook. I also spend my time making hand made greeting cards and jewellery to channel my creativity and allow my mind to be free. 
Notes to editors
About the BFA (
Freediving is the sport of breath-hold diving in which the freediver descends under water on a single breath of air. Freediving includes leisure activities such as spearfishing and snorkelling as well as competitive disciplines: Constant Weight, Free Immersion, Variable Weight, No Limits, Dynamic and Static Apnea. Freediving has many benefits and can be compared to a martial art. It promotes increased lung capacity, deeper levels of awareness and perception and control over your body.
The British Freediving Association (BFA) is the UK governing body of the international freediving organisation AIDA. We promote recreational and competitive freediving, ratify freediving records, and sponsor events for our members. The BFA also supports a growing network of affiliated freediving clubs throughout the UK.
About freediving
As with any extreme sport, there are dangers connected to freediving. However, with training, and education, and ensuring you always train with a partner or coach, it is fun, challenging and extremely rewarding. It is a growth sport that attracts women as much as men, as it is as much about beauty, grace and nature, as it is about strength, power and fitness.
Freediving dates back at least 4500 years to the pearl hunters and fishermen of the South Pacific. More recently, its popularity can be traced to the film The Big Blue, a fantasy documentary about the ‘fathers of freediving’, Enzo Majorca and Jacques Mayol, and in the present day, Tanya Streeter’s recent BBC series on freediving with whales and dolphins.
Part of the fascination of the sport is that humans train their body to become more like fish. We all carry a natural ‘dive reflex’ which traces our origins as humans back to the oceans millions of years ago. With training, this reflex response can be increased, slowing the heart and constricting the peripheral blood vessels, ensuring oxygen-rich blood is directed to the essential organs of the brain and heart and away from other ‘non-essential’ organs.
Fourth Element (
Fourth Element began in 1999 with a conversation over a post dive beer in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt. We set out to design high quality clothing with a simple yet diving oriented style. With backgrounds in design and human physiology, we spent a year and a half researching designs and fabrics for a range of casual and technical diving clothing.

The Fourth Element Technical range is designed around the principles of performance, function and innovation. Using the latest fabric technology in unique combinations and designs, the Fourth Element Technical range revolutionises thermal protection for both Wetsuit and Drysuit diving.
Elios (
Elios is THE freediving wetsuit manufacturer, producing tailor-made freediving suits in the highest quality materials. Having provided all of Sara Campbell’s wetuits, Elios is very generously supporting Team GB for 2010 in Japan.
Suunto (
Suunto is the leading manufacturer of sports instruments for a variety of sports, including skiing, hiking, diving, sailing and golf. Our strategy is to focus on sports activities where advanced measurement technology, data processing, and specific algorithms can create significant benefits for active participants.

Suunto’s mission is to be the world’s most desired sports instrument brand.