Pool nationals draw overseas competitors

Indoor freedivers from Hawaii and Australia will be hitting the water in a field of nearly 30 competitors at the Freediving New Zealand Pool Nationals starting in Queenstown today.

Hosted by the Queenstown Freediving Club, the competition will be held at Alpine Aqualand from 10.15am to 12.30pm over three days.

Organiser Kathryn Nevatt said it was the first time the competition had come to the South Island, and would be a timely boost for the club she founded in 2015.

Nearly all of the club's active members would be taking part in either the competitive AIDA grade or the recreational grade for newcomers.

It was also an opportunity for people curious about the sport to see the country's best exponents in action.

Nevatt, an Arrowtown architect, is one of those exponents. A former world champion and world record-holder in various disciplines, she was voted the world's best female freediver in 2008 and runner-up in 2011.

A different discipline will be contested on each of the competition's three days. Today it will be static apnea, where divers lie face down on the water and hold their breath. Tomorrow's discipline is dynamic no fins, where divers swim the longest possible distance on a single breath, and dynamic with fins will be held on Sunday.

The competition is distinct from the Freediving New Zealand Depth Nationals, which were held in Lake Taupo in March.

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