At the bottom of the Camana Bay swimming pool, a unique group of athletes are preparing for an upcoming tournament.
Cayman’s freedivers are stepping up their training for the annual Deja Blue competition and Cayman Open National Championships, which take place in May.
Part of their training is to practice long breath holds – sometimes reaching as much as eight minutes – in a swimming pool. The sport is growing in Cayman, with more athletes than ever preparing for competition, according to Jeremy Walton, chairman of the Cayman Freediving Association.
“Team Cayman is getting bigger. We have more people training on a regular basis and we are expecting quite a few more entrants for both the Deja Blue competition and the Cayman Open National Championships,” Mr. Walton said.
The Cayman team is in regular pool and ocean training sessions, organized by Mark Tilley and Kurt Randolph, two of the island’s top freedivers.
Though newcomers are welcome, competition is for certified freedivers only.
“This is for people who are certified and interested in testing themselves, trying to set a personal best, dip their toes into competitive waters, and compete against others,” Mr. Walton said.
The Deja Blue international freediving competition takes place from May 7 to 13. The Cayman Open National Championships takes place at the same time, but involves only three disciplines and is for Cayman-based divers only.
In both competitions, divers win points for hitting target depths on a single breath, for swimming lengths of a pool underwater, and compete against each other in holding their breath.