Johnny Deep Blog
The untimely death of the freediving Queen, Natalia Molchanova, like the falling of a redwood giant, has left a gapping hole in the freediving canopy. Her reign at the top lasted nearly 12 years and included 43 World records. In all likelihood, she was, and always will be, the greatest freediver of our time.
But her absence has created an opportunity for a new generation of female freedivers to assert themselves at the top of the game. Like young saplings they can reach for the sun and drag our sport up, from out of the shadow, which has been cast by the loss of our mighty Queen, and into the light and times of a new era.
In Part One we looked at five worthy contenders who will battle it out over the coming year, racing to fill the void that has been created and for the crown of 'Worlds deepest Woman'.
In this edition I will profile five more. So once again, in no particular order....
With such a long list of talent(and beauty!) the future looks bright for competitive freediving. These young ladies already deserve commendation for their successes and achievements. It's going to take a special sort of person to fill Natalia's shoes, someone with more than just a high work ethic, perseverance and skill level. They are going to need to possess the SELF BELIEF that they are capable of becoming the greatest. For those that accept and believe that Natalia's mountain of accomplishments is too steep to climb, have already conceded defeat. And, perhaps its going to take more than just athletic prowess. For a true Queen not only rules her subjects, she also gives back.
Our sport needs these woman to become the face of competitive freediving, to help with its growth and image, and to inspire the next generation of freedivers.
So, with all that has been said, I hope that we do see a new Queen emerge, one who can rule with all of the strengths and qualities that Natalia did so before her.
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After the disappearance of Natalia Molchanova in August of 2015, women’s freediving will never look the same again. She was, without a doubt, the Queen of Freediving, with a total of 41 WR's and 23 Gold medals across ALL competitive disciplines, AND the only woman to officially dive below 100m under her own power. It is unlikely that we will ever see another athlete like her, and hard to imagine anyone will replicate her level of success.
Natalia was a fierce competitor. With one of the strongest minds in the sport, she knew how to tune-out external stimuli and get the job done, in even the most trying of circumstances. With her tendency to 'dangle the carrot', leaving her records just within reach for the other top females to strive for and then only seconds, days or weeks later reclaiming that record, it was said that nobody ever truly claimed Natalia's records; they were only ever out on loan.
But now with the Queen gone, a new wave of female competitors is emerging, jostling for poll position and a chance to stake their claim at the top. Without having to look over their shoulder for Natalia, will one of them emerge as the new Queen of women's freediving?
I'm going to profile some of the leading candidates to be front-runners for the title of the ‘World’s deepest woman'.
And in no particular order, here are the first five....
So, who will make the last five?! And who do you think the leading candidate is?! Stay tuned for more DEEP insights as to who will become the next Queen of the deep!
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If your anything like me, the new year brings with it a new wave of motivation and energy for the season a head! It is important to have a plan to help channel this energy and turn it into results! Taking the time to sit down and mark out your calendar is the best way to do this. Knowing what your working towards keeps motivation levels high and helps you reach peak performance at the right time!
Planning your Season
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So 2015 is already upon us and I'm looking forward to the upcoming season. After a year off from competing I'm as hungry as ever to return to form and hit new and even greater depths!
2014 was the first year that I failed to increase my depth since I started freediving in 2011. After a couple of tragic events late 2013 and early 2014 and some health issues I decided to take some time away from my own depth training. However, progress isn't always made and measured in meters and I feel that I am wiser from the lessons learnt throughout the year which will ultimately make me a better diver. It was still an action packed year that included coaching Sahika Ercumen to two new CMAS World Records, new National records, acting as Event producer and Chief of Safety for the Worlds premier freediving event Suunto Vertical Blue. There were Safety presentations in Dubai and Cairns, Training camps in the Bahamas, Egypt, Turkey and Australia, Instructor courses in Denmark, Egypt and the Bahamas and a multitude of AIDA courses around the world. There were lessons and challenges for me at every corner and I'm happy to have been able to rise to the occasions. Bar the Antarctic, I also managed to set foot on every continent on the planet!
So, what has 2015 got in store for me?! Well, after taking a little time out from the sand and sea and bringing in the new year in the mountains and valleys of beautiful Colombia I was straight into running a Training camp in Antigua. Training also started for me here as I taught, with stretching and depth adaptation exercises.
My main focuses for the year will be Vertical Blue in April/May and then I'll be looking to peak for Depth World champs in Cyprus in September. This means a big focus on conditioning in the early part of the year and with depth adaptation being the major hurdle to me increasing depth I will be including a rigorous stretching regime into my training. There will be a lot of time spent in the gym, in the pool, on the yoga mat and in the deep blue ocean!
There are a couple of smaller competitions which I may use as stepping stones, including Diamond Deep, in Lake Pupuke, Auckland and the New Zealand depth champs. I have performed safety at the NZDC in the previous two years and whilst the much cooler waters of Lake Taupo may not be ideal for setting personal bests, it is a great competition and a chance for me to compete in NZ waters for the first time.
From a teaching perspective, I will be continuing with running the Training camps which have proven to be so popular in the past years and has produced and been attended by some of the worlds top divers. More Instructor courses and AIDA courses are scheduled for the year as well as specialty clinics in Safety diving, Deep equalization, Relaxation and stress management.
I will continue with my pursuit to increase safety in the community with free Safety presentations and workshops for freedivers, spearfishermen, surf life guards and the general public. I will be working in with organizers at major events such as the Depth World Champs in Cyprus and Vertical Blue to help ensure that they are firing on all cylinders!
There are also a couple of media projects in the pipeline, potential record attempts(hush hush;)), shark tagging with Shark man Riley Elliot and more global exploration!
With the support of my main sponsors Eliossub and Alchemy it's going to another action packed year! Stay tuned for more news, updates and plenty of tips and tricks!
Join me in my travels as I share my adventures freediving, teaching, exploring. My writings will give you an insight to how I think and how I approach freediving. I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years on a broad range of freediving topics!!!
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