The last dynamic, or how to win a world championship...

Publié le par Christian Maldamé

Remember my last post : the greek have a comfortable advance in the ranking, the Kiwis collapsed, the French and the tchecks have 3 points of difference and fight for the podium, and very close behind are the Swedish and the finnish, followed by the Danish.

First act : the announcements
Tuesday we discover the annoucements of the teams...
We announced very high performances : very risky, but we did not want to 'give' the other nations the opportunity to 'control' ourselves.
And here comes the list of announcements : Morgan is the last one of the Wednesday with 153m.
Guillaume comes the second day with 1m, and I... I am the last one of the last heat of the competition with 153m, with... Martin Stepanek, in person, on my side. We are competing with the tchecs for a medal and this is the last heat... Everything will be played on this last dive !

You have to know that the supposed 25m pool is in fact 24.82m long. Which gives then 24m if you achieve a full length -> this is why certain result will show 149m or 173m...

On Wednesday everything begins :

At first Dave Mullins, begins the day and easily sets-up a new World record with an incredible 248m.
It is now said, the Kiwis have nothing to lose, they will give everything, even if they risk a Black-out.
William Trubridge follows soon and does it ... A black-out, that will disqualify him after a 200m dive.

No greeks are competing this day, they are all on thursday.

The tcheck Petr Vala does 182m. The team explodes in hurrah... They really feel good after this long dive.

But wait, here comes Morgan... Fit and ready, he goes and slides easily in water, turns at 150 and keeps on going. at 173m he turns again and slides slowly... almost until the end of the pool. Exit, protocol on the moving line, clean 'I am OK'... Yes that's a marvelous 195m long dive. A lot of points, and the tchecks are not so happy any more now ;-) !

For the girls :
Natalia Molchanova secures a nice 173m.
Julie Gautier does a 124m dive with a safe exit.
Joanna Massacand does a very nice 104m.

After this first day, everything still remains : the competition France/tchec republik is still on, and the greek are going to enter the pool to win the gold medal.

On thursday the tension and stress is at the top. The podium is still fully open for the 2nd and 3rd places if no errors are made.

first of all, the kiwis, with Ant Williams, that does a Black-out on an over 200m dive.
the swedish, with Johann that unfortunately misses his dive, Weine makes a huge 198m.
On the finnish side, the good points come in with the all team making safe and long dives...

On the french side, Guillaume swims and exits at 140m experiencing the hot water swimm (34°C !!) : contractions come late, but fast and take you by surprise... Happily he does the protocol and gets a white card.
Francine does a nice and clean 104m
Solenn does a hard but safe 108m
With these good performances the girls will end at the 6th rank in the final ranking.

On the swiss side :
Nicolas does a clean 173m setting-up a new swiss record. Well done buddy !
Claudia does an impressive 154m for a new swiss record... Congratulations Claudia !

2 easy 100m dives for the nice russian girls, Natalia Avseenko and Olga Suryakova, will allow them to secure the gold medal for the women ranking.

then comes the greeks :
Dimitris swims and exits at 164m at the mid of the pool. he stupidly puts his mouth in the water to remove his goggles and gets a red card ! the greeks lose the Gold medal !
The suspense is coming back and with the greeks out, the french and tchecks now fight for the gold medal. Behind are the finnish, followed by the 'always there' danish.

Here is the other Petr from the tcheck team, after 152m he comes out... clean.

Now we are at the end of the competition.
Manolis Giankos does a very nice dive over 200m, for the honor of the greek team.

And here comes the clash for the Gold medal:
Martin stepanek and... Myself. Head to head, side by side.
There is 1 point in advance for the french team only ! If martin does 2m more than me or more, we are 2nd (assuming that I do a safe exit over 153m), if not, we are the World champion.

It is 17h40... All the teams, athletes, spectators of the world championship are here, around the pool.
We are both preparing ourselves.
I can ear the strong inhales and exhales of Martin on my side.
I am in full tension, but relaxed since 2 hours at least, that I spent doing Yoga.
I want to forget about him and all the people looking at us, I want to be focused on my performance only. I want to feel myself alone with myself and the french team.

Cyril gives me a last word : 'we are with you, do your best'
countdown 10,5,4,3,2,1, Official top.... And we go together

I feel good, and slide in a good style, I decide not to try to look at Martin.
around 100m my first contractions come, I really feel good at this stage, my turns are smooths even if they are not perfect.
125m turn, I take a look on the side and see Martin. He is far, but I can not see if he is in front of me (I guessed that first) or behind me. I stay focused on my target ... Mini 153m, and 173m is the real goal.
150m turn, good, everything is nice, some lactic acid but not much. I keep on going, here is the 173m wall I touch it slowly and exit. I feel good, take my time to remove my equipment and do my protocol 'I am OK'.
Cyril is looking at me with a huge smile, he makes me a symbol of a medal with his hands.

On the other side of the pool, Martin stepanek did a very hard exit. With the applauses of the spectactors I guess that his protocol was finally right. But I don't know how long his dive was: 150m+ or close to 200m ??

I still can not guess which medal we will get ... Gold or Silver ??
White card ! I yell a huge 'yessssss', Cyril shouts 'we are world champion' and jumps in the water, all the french team follows, girls included.
I am so happy, but still can not realize !
After some minutes we join the tcheck team and congratulate them. The russians girls (world champion) join us for some pictures.

We are all so happy. We jump and do splashes in the water.
What an incredible drama and suspense until the last minute of the world championship.

Now, time for party !
the friday will be the closing ceremony with the podiums, in a full happiness.
On saturday, we land in Geneva with Morgan and are welcomed by Roman.
A short flight to Nice, and the Marseille and Nice freedivers are waiting for us with champagne !
We are so happy to share this happiness with them!

That's the first time that France is Team World Champion in the all Freediving history !

Thanks to all of our supports and sponsors : Aquasphere, the CIPA, AIDA France... And all the people that believed in us and helped us.
Thanks to Guy that helped me in my mental preparation.
Thanks to my club teammates that followed me and helped me during my training.

And a huge final thanks to my teammates Morgan and Guillaume, Cyril (the incredible coach) and Greg (the huge selector)...
Unity and full respect between us, was the key to success : no individuality but a single united team for success !

Commenter cet article

nathalie 01/12/2008 18:06

Bravo pour les records et félicitations pour votre travail, j'ai eu l'occasion de discuter ce week-end avec votre père qui m'a parlé de vous avec fierté et il y a de quoi ! Bonne continuation dans ce merveilleux sport, que j'aurais bien aimé pratiquer, mais malheureusement le club d'apnée est trop loin pour moi et je suis maintenant trop vieille pour ça!!!!