The history of freediving, or apnea, spans over several milenia. Apnea has been the means various groups of people to gather seafoods, sponges and pearls. This is still the case to some extent though equipment and technology has changed alot.
Modern apnea is a recreative activity as well as a competitive sport and is usually practiced in one of the following ways:
A natural and ecological way of “sightseeing” in the ocean that anybody can do. Beautiful fish, turtles and other marine life is usually the attraction. Depending on whether you are diving down or not, and how deep, obviously requires different levels of skills. It can also just be enjoyed at the surface by anyone who can float or swim
Basically the same as snorkeling. Quite often though, refers to diving to various depths, sometimes even deep but without the setup of line, buoy/platform and without a training plan as such. For competitive freedivers this can also be a very effective way to start the season, getting into apnea shape. Hopefully its done in a way that is still fun, hence the name.
Competitive freediving is performed in 6 different disciplines, 3 in the pool and 3 in the ocean or lake.
CWT – Constant Weight (with Fins)
The athlete dives using fins (either a monofin or bi-fins). Any amount of weight can be used, as long as it is brought back up. Generally considered the most important sea discipline and it has always been very prestigious to hold the world record title. The current world record is 128m
CNF – Constant No Fins
The athlete dives completely unassisted, with a breaststroke-like technique. This is the hardest of the disciplines. The current world record is 101m
FIM – Free Immersion
The athlete pulls him/her self down along the rope and up again. Fins are not allowed but any amount of weights is, but has to be brought back up. The current world record is 123m
STA – static
The purest and simplest form of apnea. You simply hold your breath as long as possible while lying face down motionless in the pool. This is mentally the most demanding discipline and requires utmost relaxation and calm but also great endurance and “fighting” skills. The world record is officially 11´35. But 12´10 has been achieved as a national record.
DYN – Dynamic (with fins)
The athlete dives the longest distance possible using fins, usually done with a monofin. The current world record is 273m
DNF – Dynamic No Fins
The athlete dives the longest distance possible without the use of fins. The official world record is 213m. But 232m has been achieved as a national record.