By Shelley Gurney.
From 4–6 August, the AUT Millennium National Aquatic Centre in Auckland, New Zealand hosted the inaugural Trans-Tasman Team Freediving Competition, pitting two Australian teams and two New Zealand teams against each other, along with a club competition running in parallel to allow new competitors the chance to experience competition with top names in world freediving.
The plan was to foster development of team competitions, grow the sport, and give the national reps something a little different to compete in, as the team competition has more nuance and strategy to it than individual competition.
The New Zealand team comprising Dave Mullins, Guy Brew, Kathryn Nevatt and Ant Williams took out the national competition with a combined total of 923.5 points from 12 starts (each diver competed once per discipline). Australia, comprising Leigh Woolley, Nicole Keating, Brent Warren and Craig de Vos, took out second place with a combined total of 743.5 points, and provided excellent competition to the other three teams. The demonstration of talent and experience on display by some of the world’s best in the pool was exciting to watch, and the team members made sure to spend time with the club teams and new competitors during the course of the event.
The New Zealand A team had some injury concerns leading up to the competition. In spite of this – and a last-minute replacement – they ended third, with 709 points.
Recognition must be given to fourth-placed Australia A, who competed as a development squad and racked up 515 points. They showed heart, discipline and great sportsmanship as participants in what was a masterclass of the sport. These are ones to keep an eye on as Australian Freediving continues to develop.
The club teams brought enthusiasm and hard work to their sessions. Auckland A performed fantastically, finishing with a blistering 704.5 points, and made the New Zealand A team think very carefully about their intended distances.
Brisbane team Packing Narked, had a bit of a nightmare start with divers withdrawing but managed a very respectable 508 points for the competition, placing them in second.
The all-women team from Wellington, the Lady Seals, were easy to spot with their signature hot pink swimming caps, unicorn mascot and war-cry of “poup-poup” and proudly celebrated their third place of 495.5 points with more pink and chanting.
Auckland B came in fourth with 472.5 points, displaying great discipline under pressure, with the T3C their first freediving competition. We look forward to seeing their progress.
Melbourne’s Breathing is Overrated knocked out a bunch of very impressive PB’s for their 422.5, but illness and a red card made for a difficult final day. These final two teams were what the club competition was all about, and we’d like to thank them for their participation, and welcome them to the community.
Thanks to judges John Wright, Ben Noble, Aya Mizumura, Shelley Gurney, Kathryn Nevatt, and Ben Jeffares for keeping the competition ticking over; Nick Rhodes, Joy Keene, Chris Marshall and Phil Clayton, Michael Bates and Marine Pomarede, and Mal Bird for the behind-the-scenes organisation, the many volunteers and safeties, and to Tulsi Contemporary Indian, Ocean Hunter and Beuchat, and Holmes Construction for sponsoring the event.
The second Trans-Tasman Team competition will take place in Australia, 2018.