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Record-Holding Freediver Dave McGowan Takes Gold in Egypt Competition

31st May 2021
Mullingar freediver Dave McGowan
Mullingar freediver Dave McGowan

Mullingar's Dave McGowan, known for his recent achievements in the sport of freediving, takes his place on the podium once more. Last week, at the Aida International Blue Ocean Freedivers Pool Competition in Dahab, Egypt, McGowan took the Male Honours in both disciplines that he participated in and also took the overall gold.

Dave McGowan prepares for a freediveDave McGowan prepares for a freedive

Day one of the competition did not necessarily go to plan, with a malfunctioning dive computer contributing to McGowan overshooting his target, coming very close to losing consciousness on the surface and ultimately receiving a red card and disqualifying his dive of 162m, which took approximately 2minutes and 45 seconds. McGowan was quoted saying, "This dive of 162m was huge for me, I had built up to a distance of 135m in training and was confident that I could do 10-15m more on the day of the competition but certainly not almost 30m extra. I had been relying on the computer to give me a good idea of when I could surface and when it didn't work it had me questioning the distance that I had already covered, trying to work this kind of thing out at the end of such a long swim on one breath is not an easy thing. The mind becomes foggy and basic tasks rely on an element of the subconscious to get you through it. I essentially got it wrong and ended up swimming almost another complete length of the pool. I was surprised to be told that I had covered 160m+ when in my head I had barely made 135m." Unfortunately, at the end of the dive, McGowan was not able to complete the 'Surface Protocol', which signals to the judges that he is ok and was subsequently shown a red card.

Dave McGowan celebrates his win in the pool in EgyptDave McGowan celebrates his win in the pool in Egypt

McGowan returned on Day 2 determined to set the record straight. He completed his dive of 150m (equivalent to 6 lengths of a standard 25m pool) in the DYNb discipline (distance swam in pool on one breath using freediving fins) in a time of 2minutes and 35 seconds. This time he made a clean surface protocol, receiving a white card from the judges, legitimising his performance and confirming this dive as his 4th Irish National Record. "I wasn't really nervous leading into day one of this competition as I had approached my training in a conservative way and knew what I was capable of, however, arriving here on day 2 after what had happened on the first day I was feeling the nerves creep into the pit of my stomach. This sport is so psychological, it takes such mental strength, you really need to be able to control your thoughts and feelings and at times like these, in the moments before a record dive you have to be able to focus and get rid of any thoughts of negativity or doubts in your abilities. I feel like I handled it quite well and managed to complete what I had set as an upper limit for myself. I would have walked away satisfied with my performance and also with the record in anything above 132m, so to have been able to do 150m I really am over the moon – it was a difficult dive for me and for sure it will be difficult for anyone to beat in the future."

Day 3 saw McGowan return to finish off the competition with a 'fun' dive in the DNF or 'No-fins' discipline, (distance swam underwater on one breath in a style similar to the breast-stroke). In both depth and pool, this discipline is usually considered the most pure, and most original of all of the freediving disciplines, it is graceful to watch and more-so with the right training and technique, enjoyable to compete in. McGowan's swim of 116m in 2mins 19 secs places him 3rd of all time in the Irish rankings for this discipline.

Published in Diving
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