Photo: Aleksander Nordahl, www.aleksandernordahl.com
Kielstraumen and Bekkasundet, Bergen, Norway, 2016
I’m a freediver.
Five years ago this was what came out of my heart:
And where was she? In a small fjord in Sweden, gurgling with happiness together with her freediving friends. She said: I too wanna go down with the weights! And so the rope got pulled up again by strong arms, the others watched her while she breathed in – and out – in – and out, and then with a big smile, she nodded and the rope was set free. So was she!
Soaring through the cold sea, down, down, her body vibrating from the speed, her eardrums going : pop : pop : pop : with every equalization, her eyes looking out into the darkness, visibility better than most days, she saw the thermocline passing by, the stinging jellyfish with their long tentacles spread out horizontally as if they were imitating the sun with beautiful rays shooting out from its centre. She saw the rocky grey wall, and thought – this is our own fantastic Green Hole, we don’t need to fly to blue holes in other parts of the world when we have this magic place to come to!
She hung down there for just a few seconds, then pulled once at the rope and started her swim towards the surface. Strong, smooth kicks, eyes semi-closed, just looking at the rope every now and then, and sensing the light coming back as she moved upwards. This was her world, right there and then, she was alone inside the most beautiful element on this planet: Water
Peace. Kick. Ful. Kick. Ness. Kick. Glide.
Alive! So alive!
Five years ago was the last time I was training for a World Championship. I had hubris. I had recently been crowned the worlds third best female freediver.
Five years ago I was crying at that WC because I couldn’t relax and reach my goals in the depth. Hubris…
Five years is not a very long time, yet it felt like an eon passed before I could go back to deep diving just for myself, for fun, for the bliss.
Something finally clicked inside me last year, allowing me access to myself and to the depth again. I calmed down like an excited electron coming back to an inner shell, after emitting sparks and energy further out. I had been spinning for so long…
This spring I came back to the competitive arena at the Swedish Championships, where I snatched a bronze medal in the only discipline me and my knee were fit to compete in: static apnea, aka ”holding-your-breath-while-lying-still-face-down-in-water”. That dive planted a first seed, a first thought of wanting to compete in the worlds this year with the women’s team. But I pushed it away, thinking my ACL, knee and leg wouldn’t be strong enough by September.
Still the seed grew inside me, and I joked about it with the ladies with whom I would like to have a team, and with the rest of my freediving crew here in Gothenburg. Then Tim said, ”you love freediving, you should go!” Thanks darlin. So then I asked my physiotherapist what she thought and she said ”GO, you’ll be stronger than ever by then!” Oh. Wow. This lead to asking my bosses if I could have extra time of from the Botanical Garden and they said ”YES, that’s great for you, we’ll make it work!” Oh.
Really? I can go?
I can go!
HELLO! HELLOOOO SWEDISH FREEDIVERS! I WANT A SPOT ON THE TEAM!
I did another qualifying dive in the pool, not pushing it, just getting the score of a DYN, aka ”dive-as-long-as-you-can-with-fins-in-a-pool”. And that was that. Now the qualification window has closed and I’m in, back on the national team for the fifth time together with Linda and Sofia from Fridykarkommunen.se. I couldn’t have hoped for better comrades in this upcoming adventure! Come to think of it, these women are probably the first reason for me wanting to compete this year, because I trust them fully, I trust them with my life in the water, and I know we will rock together!
I’m glad that my knee injury gave me the chance to grace myself with another shot at a playful, harmonious competition in freediving. Going back to compete in Kalamata, the same place as the last WC I was at in 2011, feels like closing a circle.
No crying this time 🙂