British freedivers Alice Hickson and Alex Atkins have achieved a double first – it’s the first time either athlete has been recognised as a National Freediving Champion.
At the end of each year, the British Freediving Association (BFA) awards this accolade to the male and female who have collected the most points in competition throughout the year.
“It helps to compete in as many of the competition disciplines as possible,” says the BFA. “This is no easy feat but it has the added benefit of making the freediver a stronger and well-rounded athlete.”
Hickson, a freediving instructor, has participated in the sport since 2014 and trains, mainly pool-based, with Bristol Freedivers.
Atkins, a Level 3 SSI freediver, took his first course in March 2017 with Aquacity Freediving. He trains with that club and plans to do his instructor course soon. He concentrates on pool and gym work in winter and dives off Cornwall in summer.
“We have beautiful, deep waters in Porthkerris, Cornwall, so it’s a perfect place to do your depth training,” he explains. “I also have a very physical job being a tree surgeon, so that’s a great way to keep me in shape!”
British freediving includes four competitive pool and four depth disciplines. Hickson gained points in every one, but her particular success in CNF and also Static Apnea (STA), in which she achieved a 6min 38sec breath-hold, placed her in the world’s top five in both disciplines.