Monday, 7 December 2009

Diving at Nemo 33

A week ago, I was travelling to Brussel to attend a research meeting, and I managed to put in a few extra days. The plan was very simple: see the city and go diving! Now most people think of a little peeing boy or chocolate when talking about Brussel, but the city also has a special pool, that is worth a visit.

Nemo 33 is the name of the worlds deepest diving pool, built especially to attract scubadives with a 35m deep pitch and several caves. It is also a perfect spot to practice skills or just enjoy, with 33 degree water and endless visibility. Unfortunatly, they are not allowing freedivers in the deep part, which sort of spoil the fun. Without a tank, you're only allowed in the 5 and 10m deep parts, and there's an instructor watching closely if you follow the rules :(

So, I had to sign up for a scuba dive, as I did want to touch bottom in this special pool. Luckily I found a group of friendly british divers which let me join then. The scubadive also included 10min of "snorkling" before gearing up, which I enjoyed!

Next time, I think I have to bring a freediving buddy, my own mask and fins, and try to bribe those guards. It would be a wonderful place to train during the winter!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

My first (part of a) marathon

Last weekend, I travelled to Berlin together with the danish dynamics, Rune and Jesper, to help out at the annual Long Night of Apnea (yes, helping out. not competing!). The competition was not as long as usual, but very nice. Good performances and some impressive stamina at the 16x50m.
The next day, we had gathered a little team of freedivers to join the Berlin Team Marathon! It was a sunny, beautiful day at the former Tempelhof Airport, which made for a historic background for the run.
Our team (one out of 1100 teams): The Hypoxic Runners!

Martin: 1:02:40 (12,195 km)
Steffen: 0:52:45/1:55:25 (10 km)
Anna: 0:30:08/2:25:33 (5 km)
Jesper: 1:01:45/3:27:18 (10 km)
Elisabeth: 0:29:26/3:56:43 (5km)

Final time: 3:56:43

It was a great atmosphere with all the runners and spectators, people cheering and enjoying the day. And we had a good team spirit, and I believe everybody gave their max performance. By the look of Jesper's face when we changed, he couldn't have done much more! For me, it was sort of special. It was my first time ever to cross a finishing line, but it won't be the last..

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A closer look at hypoxia

Lately, my days have been occupied by less freediving and more studying. I'm still training and trying to stay in shape, but having a break from the competition rush at the moment.

I'm currently working on my bachelor project (to be finished in June 2010), which is somehow related to freediving. I will be studying how hypoxia is increasing the formation of new blood vessels in the body. A protein called hypoxia-inducible factor is responsible for activating several genes, which give us a physical response and help the body to cope with the stress.

From a freediving perspective, it's facinating to learn more about what's happening in the body when it's faced with low oxygen. There's still lots to learn.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Norwegian championship of freediving

AIDA Norway and Oslo Freediving Club(OFK) held the first ever national championship in freediving 18th October in Askim. With 12 competitors, among them both new and old freedivers, the competition saw lot's of white cards and even a national record in STA (Bjarte Nygard).

Big thanks to everybody from OFK for organizing, safetying, filming etc. Several people were both helping out and competing, and I was also judging for the first time.

On the women's side, Maria Hovden gave me some good competition after the static discipline. I had to pull off a decent dyn in order to beat her.In the end I managed to find the rythm in the water after judging and being a little stressed out. My end results: STA - 4:03 and DYN - 142m.

More info and results, check out the AIDA Norway blog.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Monofin course in Oslo, 19th October

I will be giving a monofin course in Oslo, 19th October, together with DNF world champion Bjarte Nygard. The course will take place in and outside the pool at Norges Idrettshøyskole, where Oslo Freediving Club has their training hours.

The course is open for both beginners and experienced, as the level will be adapted to the participants. A monofin is not obligatory, small rubber fins or bifins will work fine. The main goal is to learn or improve the basic movement of the body which is the basis of good technique.

Preliminary schedual:
18:30 - (In lecture room) Introduction to monofin technique, videos of different styles and basic movement principles. Discussion about different monofin models and how to make a training program.
20:00 - Streching exercises for monofin swimming
20:30 - In water practise of the movement with small rubberfins or monofin with video corrections

The total duration of the course is ~3 hours and the cost is 300 NOK per person.

To sign up or get more information, please email or leave a comment :)

Sunday, 4 October 2009


People often have problems getting their head around the performances of us freedivers. They believe it's humanly impossible to hold your breath for much more than a min or two or dive deeper than the bottom of the swimming pool.

I on the other hand, had big troubles accepting the huge performances of the top runners at the 36th Berlin Marathon, 20th september. These incredible athletes are (in my own view) sprinting for 42km, taking a little more than 2 hours! Equally incredible are all the "normal" people, who look just like me and you, exept for the fact that they can endure running continously for 4-5 hours...

My weekend in Berlin left me with some new inspiration and a longing to start running as well. Anybody wanna trade me a good pair of running legs? Preferably from Ethiopia.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A kickstart to training freediving again

After the world championship was over, I found myself with a complete lack of training motivation. During the following two weeks I didn't even put my toe into the water. But now I thought it was time to get started again.

My training buddy from this summer, Anna von Boetticher, appeared to have the same problem. Thus she decided to take Martin and the car and drive up to Aarhus to join me for a Freediving Boot Camp!

The training started on Tuesday evening with a surprisingly nice session, without too much of the pain and misery we had expected:

6 x 25m DNF no arms
6 x 25m DNF no legs
5 x 50m DNF technique

Then static in the hot tub:

5'08 without warm-up! (That was my first time ever trying STA without warm-up...)

We started off with 2 x 75m DNF, more or less in good style. Afterwards we got a couple of hints and corrections from Stig Severinsen. It helped us realize that we still have good room for improvement, which coach Martin is reminding us from time to time. He's in charge of filming our dives and point out all the mistakes.

It was time to put on another turn, and I was doing 1 x 85m DNF and 1 x 77m. The dives felt much better than the day before, and I was enjoying the training alot. What a strange feeling! If I can just keep it this way... After 700m swimming, I ended up in the hot tub again for a couple of easy statics. No more fighting today, just finding that relaxed place in my mind.

Friday was the last training day of our boot camp. Somehow my motivation from yesterday had dissapeared, and I did a miserable 76m DNF. Anna on the other hand did a good 105m dive, so I'll have to beat her next time!

Over in the hot pool, Martin started the static with a tough CO2 table, working through all 9 dives. I wasn't very sure if I liked the thought of doing the same, but got convinced to give it a try:

Breathing / Hold / Contractions:
2'00 / 2'30 / 1
2'00 / 2'30 / 0
1'45 / 2'30 / 0
1'30 / 2'30 / 0
1'15 / 2'30 / 0
1'00 / 2'30 / 0
0'45 / 2'30 / 1
0'30 / 2'30 / 4
0'15 / 2'30 / ca 6

I've never had such an easy table before! Hardly any contractions, even on the last dive. I guess our training has had some effect and that my CO2 tolerance has increased alot since I last did a table. Next time I'll have to do longer holds I guess...

The end
We finished off on Saturday with some climbing, which is the perfect cross-training to build up strength for DNF. It's also a lot of fun! Then, after lunch, Anna and Martin headed back to Berlin again. I think we accomplished our mission, as I'm eager to go training again tomorrow in the 50m pool :)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Freediving - a learning experience

One thing I've learned through my time as a competitive freediver, is that we're not that competitive at all... The best parts are often when we're all together, having fun and enjoying life (under water).

I've got some great experiences and lots of nice memories from the World Championship in Aarhus, and these were some of the highlights:

Parading through the streets of Aarhus with my Norwegian team (more than one person!!!). Read more about AIDA Norway here.

Coaching Maria Livbjerg right before her silver medal DNF dive to 147m.

Making friends with the japaneese team and getting one of those cool t-shirts.

Being awarded an "honorary kiwi" by sweet Kathryn and her friend: the kiwi him/herself.

Head the applause when Anna, my trainingbuddy and coach, kicked my ass in static with 6:12.

Beating my own deamons and that old DYN record with a dive to 183m :)

Watching the historic prize ceremony where Bjarte Nygard became Norway's first ever World Champion in freediving. He really deserved that one!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Beautiful static pictures

Morten Bjørn Larsen
, danish photographer, took some great pictures from the competition and was kind enough to give me a copy of the ones he took of me. You can see his pictures in my other posts from the DYN and DNF disciplines.

Also static can look cool if you know how to shoot it ;) This is Anna coaching me on the warm-up before my static dive to 6:02.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

DYN A final: 183m and fourth place

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, happy and tired now that the finals are over. It was so exciting and there were so many good performances. My own dive was done almost on autopilot untill 150m, where my legs really started to give up on me. I kept swimming with my arms though, not wanting to come up, which got me all the way to 183m and another Norwegian record!!!

I couldn't be more pleased with this dive (or maybe I could. it's always a little sad to be nr.4 ;) ) and the fact that I did good performances in all three disciplines. Now we are off to take the largest underwater group picture and then party!

Friday, 21 August 2009

DYN qualification: 178m and NR

I came up maybe a little early in the static finals, at 5:14, but maybe it was a good idea to save some power for the dynamic qualification. This was the one dive I did not want to mess up in any way...

5 minutes to official top I was listening to Maria Mena's "Calm under the waves" and slowly turn away from this world and into the dive. I kicked off and then pretty much fell a sleep the next 100m. It was a beautiful dive and I kept telling myself that I want this, I really want this. Then I saw the markers for the 175m, did another stroke and came up with a big smile.

With this dive, I'm officially back! After two years, it was about time with a new pb... It's been hard getting back here, but I have learned so much through the struggle and now I'm feeling stronger than ever before.

Tomorrow I will dive in the A final. All these max dives are pretty hard mentally and physically. It will be a good test for my legs. They got pretty lactic and even walking some stairs is hard work. I wonder how diving will be...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

STA: 6:02 and A-finals!

Sometimes the body works for you, and even static is not that horrible, almost enjoyable. Today was one of those days. Much thanks to my lovely coach Anna, I made my first static past 6 minutes since the world championship in Hurgada, 2006.

It was such a lovely dive, and I came up with more to go. I even made it into the A-finals, so I will dive side by side with Natalja, Kathryn, Lotta and the rest of the girls tomorrow morning.

Now I've gotta go rest and prepare for the DNF B-finals, which starts at 19:00. :)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

New norwegian record: 118m DNF!!!

I had a great start of the competition with a clean and nice 118m dive, which is a new national record by 5m. I also made it into the b-finals, which means I'm swimming again tomorrow and have a chance to improve the record still.

The static competition is tomorrow morning and I'm starting at 10:34. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

FreeWC09 and Team Norway

More and more athletes are arriving in Århus now, and everything is starting to be ready for the worldchampionship. The opening ceremony is this afternoon and the competition starts off with DNF tomorrow. My training has been going well, and I'm feeling confident so far :) See the full schedual and more info at

From Norway we are a almost a full team, two women and four men. This is a new record! It's very nice to have both new and more experienced athletes joining. To read more about the norwegian team members and AIDA Norway, check out the blog.

On Friday, a package arrived for me. It was a sponsored, brand new Speedo Fastskin suit! As I've been working alot with DNF recently, I have discovered the importance of glide... And this suit is a big improvement there, compared to the normal swimsuit I've been using. Big thanks to Speedo!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Sightseeing Aarhus!

Kathryn and I took the sightseeing tour last weekend...

The first thing on the on the list was The Aros, the city's biggest and most famous art museum with collections covering the 18th to the 21st century. The building itself is an amazing architectural experience with a spiral staircase connecting the 8 floors. We spent quite a few hours wandering among the paintings, sculptures and installations.

Afterwards we headed back in time, visiting The Old Town, a living and breathing museum of a danish market town.

We secured an important part of our freediving diet these days, a little bit of cake!

On Sunday, we travelled a little outside of town to find some peace and beauty in the Japanese Garden.

The waterfalls, the carps, the trees and the flowers, they all created a wonderfully pleasant experience and we left feeling calm and relaxed. Perfect build-up for a freediving world championship.

Now it's less than a week left. I've finished my trainings, and all that is left is adjusting the last details in weightning and resting alot.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Visit from New Zealand

Kathryn McPhee is visiting me at the moment, a sidestop on her "around the world" trip (which includes the world championships etc). I traded a couch for some world class tips in DNF.

One of these are closely connected to wearing a suit, which I have been considering for some time now. The extra bouancy and the weight give more momentum in the movement, and better glide. I really felt this on the last training, where I got to try Kathryn's Orca Apex 2:

I'm also working on improving my weightening, putting some more lead on the hips to keep my feet down. Another important thing for me is to remember to keep my head in the right position. That became quite clear on the recent DNF videos I've done.

Kathryn and I are both having a great time here in Aarhus now, slowly preparing the last things for the upcomming world championship.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

New PB: 125m DNF!

I had a great day today, finally touching the other side of the pool at the 125m mark. And I even did it without my lovely monofin. Yes, my leg kick is kind of funny... But it seems to do the job ;)

Arms and legs were pretty lactic afterwards, but that's okey. It was a truely great dive and I'll try to keep this feeling for the next weeks.

I wanna send a big thanks to both Anna and Martin for the company and help with the training, it's been great! Aarhus here we come...

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Eat, sleep, train

I'm spending most of July in Berlin with Martin, enjoying the city and the summer. Thanks to lucky circumstances (Anna getting sponsored by the gym Elexia and needing a buddy), I get to train alot as well.

Martin does the job as a bossy coach very well, ordering Anna and me around, making us do numerous laps underwater and even train static. The focus has been on technique (especially in DNF), sub-max dives and leg strength. And it has been paying off. I did another 150m DYN in training which felt a lot easier than before.

This weeks schedual looked like this:
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Swimming, some DYN and DNF medium long dives and technique
Wednesday - STA and DNF technique
Thursday - Rest
Friday - little bike trip with some running
Saturday- DYN: 2x50m, 75m, 2x100m, 85m, 50m
Sunday - STA: two warm-ups and then 5'12, and spinning class later today

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Video: 150m DYN

I had a nice training session last sunday, and I even got footage of it!

It was a very good dive which showed me that my training is well on schedual so far and that I'm doing something right when it comes to the preparation and mentally coping with doing longer dives. I was struggeling after 50m and really wanted to come up, but once I got to 100m, I remembered that I did wanna get to the other side of the pool...

The legs were working quite good as well, so the training in the gym lately must be paying off :)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Catching my first fish!

On Sunday I went out to Djursland with Mark from Aarhus Freediving Club to do some spearfishing. I have only tried it once before in the Oslo Fjord where I hardly saw any fish or got to try to shoot any. But this time I had more luck.

Mark was kind enough to borrow me a gun and teach me some tricks. This is a part of freediving where I'm a complete newbie, and I felt a little funny working hard to stay down in 3m depth and wait for any fish to come along. I had too little weight and not the right equipment for that (my beloved monofin is better for CWT...).

I had more luck switching to the more active form of spearfishing, searching the sandy bottom for the flatfish hiding in the sand. There I shot a beautiful "rødspette", or European plaice, as it is called in english. Short after I shot another flatfish of a different species and my day was a success!

The fresh fish made a wonderfull dinner, together with some vegetables in the oven and pasta. It's strange how hungry you get after spending a whole day out by the sea and diving...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

First pool PB in a good while

Today I did a very nice 115m DNF, even using some extra energy because of too little weight (I think I need a 3kg neckweight instead of the 2,5kg...). It felt strong and there's several things I can improve on longer dives like this one, the style, the turns or the number of strokes.

The most important thing is that my new warm up rutine is succeding in preparing both my body and my mind that THIS is the dive and there's no quiting early. Of course, it still feels hard and I have the little voice in my head telling me to come up, but it's easier to keep focusing on the dive and finish it now. So today was a great success and made me very happy!

Fingers crossed I'll be able to keep progressing the next two months...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What's up?

It's been a little less freediving lately (exepct for normal training up to the WC) and more reading. June is exam month, which means that poor students like myself are locked up inside with thousands of pages to read while the sun is shining outside...

Well, it't not really that bad and I've already halfway through, but I'm pretty jealous of the guys who's going off to Crete to freedive next week. I would give ALOT for some blue water right now.

Anyways, I'm still training and have had some good progress with a new warm up rutine (thanks Anna!). The main goal is to get my head around doing max dives, while I'm doing some strength training to prepare my body for those long dives. I hope to get some pictures up from the gym soon, to show you some of the exercises I'm doing.

I'm starting to really look forward to the world championship here in Århus this summer. We'll even be a total of 7 (!) Norwegian freedivers competing. That's a new record!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

CNF in the cold waters of Hemmoor

Martin organized the 1st Hemmoor No-Fins Only last weekend, which involved exactly that: diving without fins. I did overcome some of my prior sceptism for this disiplin in Dahab, but I soon found out that it's a whole different game doing it in cold waters. With a 5mm suit and a mask, I had a really hard time getting anywhere! It didn't help that my body was feeling weak, my throat was sore and my ears sticky.

After both training days on Thursday and Friday had been pretty bad, I decided against competing on Saturday. We had lovely weather that day though, and I had a good time hanging out, coaching Anna and fun diving in the underwater forest. After all, it was my birthday(!). We finished off with a nice barbeque with fresh fish from the lake.

On Sunday, I was feeling much better and had announced 30m. After some lovely warm-up dives and some calming words from Anna, I went for my dive. All was fine untill 13m, where I took a little stronger arm pull and glided before equalizing my ears. But they were stuck! That was it for the competition in my case, but there were a lot of great performances by the other freedivers. Both PB's and national records were broken. Anna von Boetticher and Jonas Krahn both did new German records in lake with 35m and 53m respectively, and they won a turtle each.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

1. place overall

I must confess I'm very very happy with the results and the whole trip! The diving went almost perfect. I was doing the exact depth progression that I had hoped for, my ears were fit and working and I managed to stay pretty healthy. That's a very important part when in Egypt...

The 65m dive was one of my best deep dives ever. I felt the urge to turn around at some point, but managed to turn my mind back to relaxing. The last five meters I was fumbling a little with the equalizations, but reach the bottom without problems. The arch opened up like a big door of light and was so beautiful! I haven't had this much time to look at it before, and I enjoyed it alot. The way back up felt quite long and lactic legs meant I had to take my time, but at the surface I was still completely clear. There's still more meters in me!

I had such a good time with the group of nearly 50 other freedivers, old friends and new. I'm always sad to leave Dahab and the Blue Hole, and I hope it won't be another year before I come back.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

What a day: CWT 65m NR and CNF 40m NR

I'm gonna put some more reflextions on this day later, but thanks to Martin, the news got out yesterday already.

And thanks to Fredrik, it made it to Dagbladet, a large norwegian newspaper!

I couldn't be more happy or satisfied, making both my dives on a single day. Not only where they national records, but also pbs of 4m each!

Even the 40m CNF dive went without problems, but afterwards I was dead tired. So I'm having a day of complete rest before the last competition day. Let's see what happens then ;)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Freediving Ras Mohammed

We had a great day freediving on the famous national park Ras Mohammed. Fredrik Naumann came along to take some stunning pictures, which can be seen here.

Photo and copyright: Fredrik Naumann

There was a very friendly turtle swimming around, just grassing on some corals and watching the excited freedivers pass by. I think I love turtles even more after this encounter, and I already had a crush on them before.

I also enjoyed the boat trip out back and forth. It just feels good to be really out at sea. The fun part was that the whole boat was packed with freedivers, not a singel tank on board!

Friday, 24 April 2009

CNF 36m PB

I'm surprising myself with the fact that I am capable of diving without fins. Before I always complained about my bad feet stroke and the fact that I'm equalizing with my hands, but it doesn't seem to hold up anymore (also due to the noseclip). So no more complaining, just training hard...

When swimming back in, we found this huge morey eal crusing in and out of the corals just on the entry to the Blue Hole. It was a big fat guy, and I even got a picture!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A flat sea and 61m

This morning I got up extra early to do yoga with Hanli and the other freedivers. The sea was completely flat, everything was quiet and calm. Just a lovely start of the day.

Then, when I got to the blue hole, I realized I had forgot my suit! Luckily I got to borrow a suit from Klara, and could get in the water and do my dive. I got down to 61m, managed the equalization and had a lovely swim back up.

The duck is launched and swimming, and we had a team relay competition out in the bay today. I was on a team with Fanny and Daan, but I can't really say that we were really fast. The czechs won with a speedy speedy swim, three divers, 20m/30m/40m all disciplins. Tomorrow it's the "noseclip only" competition, so more fun!