Aida 2 star course

 Whilst I had heard of freediving, originally I had never considered it a sport for the average person, but an extreme sport reserved only for the super-fit athlete, or pearl diver who could hold their breath for an inordinate amount of time.

Those misconceptions were soon dispelled by Steve Millard during the AIDA ** course.

The course material was sent to me beforehand, which allowed me to begin to faiarise myself with the basics of freediving & a little of what to expect from the course.

Steve was very approachable, the lessons were very relaxed, good humored and informal, but still very thorough and informative. Instruction was very clear and demonstrated step by step firstly with the theory and later the practical pool session. With Steve’s instruction, In the first session, I was able to hold my breath for over a minute longer than I had previously been able to achieve on my own!

Because I work shift patterns & couldn’t attend any of the organised course dates, Steve was very accommodating and flexible, creating a new date that I could attend for my first theory and pool session. Other students were unavailable on that date, so the lesson was one to one basis! Steve also tailored the course to suit my requirements, going at my pace throughout & even brought along a monofin for me to use, because I had previously expressed an interest in trying it.

During the first open water session, I met instructor Gary Lowe who showed me how to duck dive and pull myself down a fixed rope line in the water. Again, instruction was patient, very clear and concise, with step by step demonstration.

 I was initially apprehensive about diving in the open water in a wetsuit at the end of September, particularly as I feel the cold generally. Surprisingly, I found the water was not at all as cold as I had been expecting, and didn’t even think about it whilst I was concentrating on getting the technique right when diving.

 During the other pool and open water sessions I got to meet other students, club members and instructors, everyone was really friendly, with a good mix of capabilities and experience. There are regular training sessions available and club trips, the most recent of which was freediving in the farne islands with the seals – an amazing & unforgettable experience!

In the four months since my introduction to freediving, I went from thinking I could swim underwater less than a width of a pool, hold my breath for less than 30 seconds, and dive down to the bottom of a swimming pool; to knowing I can swim over 50 metres in the pool with fins, hold my breath for over 4 minutes and dive down to 16 metres (so far)!

Through Steve, I found freediving to be a safe, accessible, sociable sport with something for everyone, whether it’s underwater hockey, the satisfaction of seeing improvement in your ability, diving the depths, spearfishing, relaxation, diving with the seals, or swimming like a mermaid. It’s a sport I feel comfortable doing & enjoy.

I found freediving to be a safe, accessible, sociable sport . . .

Anita Jasso