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Michael Naef - News

Diver Outline
30
Jun. 2011

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Triple Depth 2011

Just six weeks after the Minicomp I set out to Dahab again for the Free Dive Dahab Triple Depth. I was very much looking forward to do more depth competitions than the year before. Diving in the clear and warm red sea is always a special pleasure, specially in such monumental places like the Blue Hole.

Dahab, Lighhouse

The time between the two competitions was full of work and spare time very precious. Just one training in six weeks and off I was again heading for the sunny side of earth. This time Gregoire Folly was also coming to Dahab, just days after my arrival. So I spent the first two days snorkeling and frightening the SUCBA divers at the Lighthouse and enjoyed a bit of a holiday which I dearly needed.

The conditions were very good apart for the wind, the waves and the current on some days. I was amazed when I realised that my aircon in the hotel was set to 30°C and I actually ejoyed it. The water temperature was around 25° at the surface and still around 22° in the depth of the Blue Hole. Our training began on Wednesday, one week before the comp in the Blue Hole. I was back at my depths very quickly and could start to progress on the second day. For Greg things didn't work out properly. He had problems with the equalisation which he couldn't get rid of until but the day he left. I was able to add a few metres every day and although I didn't plan to go for a national record it suddenly drew near. We did two sessions on most days, for me deep dives in the morning and lazy dives in the afternoon, sometimes only safetying or snorkelling.

Michael Naef, Constant Weight training Deep snorkeling at the Blue Hole Life in the Deep, Dahab, Bluehole Breathing after a training dive

The Aqua Marina was getting more full every day. Lots of athletes kept arriving from all over the world. We counted up to 14 buoys, one day. The deepest hanging right in front of the arch and then decreasing in depth as they withdrew. Still it is electrifying to hang in front of the arch and to catch a glimpse of the fish dwindling in the light flooded opening to the sea! Unfortunately my camera housing doesn't withstand that depth.

Depth profile CWT training, Michael Naef Depth profile FIM training, Michael Naef

As the days of the Competition drew near, we also had to decide on our depths. Free Immersion would make the start. Since I had decided to give the Constant Weight national record a try, I wanted to announce a safe depth for the first discipline and make sure I get there with a white card. The 76m FIM dive was no problem and I got the white card for it. Greg did also well and made it to 40m despite his struggling with equalisation! Together with Wendy Timmermans, our Team was on course :-)

The second competition day was constant weight. I announced 78m, just one metre below the current national record to make sure it would not fail on equalisation. But just after the first kick of my dive I realised that I forgot to let go the rope before I put my head in the water and I'm going to have a yellow card and therefore no national record for sure, even if everything else worked out fine (national records are to be white card). But I decided to go for the tag anyway and enjoy the dive as another dive down into the amazing abyss. Apart from that, the dive went very well and I reached the surface with the tag and took the yellow card for "grabing". The ending of the 2nd day was a bit disappointing. Having gotten the tag with no problem at 78m but getting a penalty for doing something stupid like this was not to my liking. But that's the rules. Wendy turned early so we all got penalties except Greg, who's turn was again early in the morning. He made his second white card of his triple-40 announcement.

Michael Naef, Free Immersion in Triple Depth Competition 2011 Marc Lenoir preparing for his No Fins dive

Constant No Fins was the last discipline on day three. Having gotten over my yellow card, I was happy to do the last dive and for the comp soon to be over. Never training no fins, I had just done one test-dive to 42 metres on my resting day before the competition started. I saw that despite my bad technique it wasn't a big deal and I felt quite comfortable to announce 46m for the competition. This time making sure to clearly let go the rope before I turned downwards, it turned out to be a very easy dive and I still felt like climbing the top of the pyramid when I reached the surface. White card, both Wendy and me. This time it was Greg's turn for a yellow card, he turned early at 37m because his ears were blocked. So we all had our share on penalties.

After the Competition we met at Rush for the price ceremony and a big party. The relief was visible on everybody's face, the tension gone and it was a chattering evening until the early morning hours. Although I got 5 points penalty for my stupid mistake, I made it to the 2nd place behind Miguel Lozano and just before Santi "Jackass", both from Spain. Wendy took the 2nd place with the women behind Sara and our Team "CHUCHICHAESTLI" (which is Swiss-German for "kitchen cupboard - this happens when you're forced to state a team name in one second at the registration; and in case you ever happen to be in Dahab, ask Lotta to pronounce it;) made it to the third place!

The Team CHUCHICHAESTLI, Gregoire Folly (CH), Wendy Timmermans (NL) and Michael Naef (CH). 3rd place Team at Triple Depth 2011 Michael Naef, 2nd place male Triple Depth 2011

The time was over to quick once more and I had to fly back to Switzerland the next day. I brought a lot of good memories and feelings back home and I'm looking forward to the next time I'm competing in Dahab! Thank you very much to all the people, the organizer, the athletes and of course the safety team for the good time we had. And a special thank you for my new shiny lanyard I got at the ceremony from Free Dive Dahab because they thought my old rusty, supposedly-stainless-steel one is not suitable for any more dives;)

Pictures: Gregoire Folly, Ali Okab, Free Dive Dahab, Michael Naef


04
May. 2011

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Training Week in the Red Sea

Finaly I spent again ten days in Dahab at the gulf of Aqaba. Eleven months since my last visit and 9 months after my last deep dives in the cold and dark lake Zürisee I was really looking forward to dive in the warm and vivid blue again.

I planed to participate at the FDD Minicomp to do a bit of competition training but mostly I wanted feel the clear blue and see the corals, the fish- and fish-like friends again. Unfortunately it turned out I had to return to Switzerland early and wasn't able to compete on both competition days.

The Blue Hole seen from Aqua Marina

The Temperatures were just perfect: Warm but not to hot and so I felt comfortable right from the day I arrived. Being in Dahab alone, I quickly found company with Betrand Rohrbock, Frank de Jong and Marc Lenoir and many other freedivers from all around Europe to train with. But I also enjoyed it very much to spend time alone, reading books and doing nothing but my very own living.

The training went well and despite my bad preparation I was back at my depths quickly. Marc Lenoir and Jure Daic are early morning divers but in return we had the Blue Hole for us alone and set our buoy right in front of the arch to catch a glimpse of it every day. It still is haunting to see the majestic blue hall opening before the eyes. I felt very comfortable during my dives and was able to add a few metres day by day. I enjoyed the time in the water training, exploring the underwater life, doing lots of "photo missions" for Jure, Marc, Christian, Sahika, all the other freedivers and safetying Marc's Torpedo dive through the arch. But sadly the end of the holiday drew near fast.

Jure Daic, Free Immersion Marc Lenoir torpedo safetying Jure The 'Sinai' fish The French-Swiss Team: Christian Maldame, Marc Lenoir, Michael Naef

In the days before the comp more and more athletes were arriving. We had a good group with the french-suisse team of Marc, Christan Maldame and me. Also Sergio and Olga (Germany) joined in. But the last day in dahab and my only day of competition came quickly. I announced 70 metres constant weight because it seemed to me to be good number and I know I can do it without pushing my limits. The dive went perfect and I got a smiling white card for a happy dive.

Michael Naef disapearing into the blue

It was again pure joy to freedive the corals of the Blue Hole with such a good company! See you again for Tripple Depth!

Pictures: Frank de Jong, Michael Naef


19
Feb. 2011

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13th Berlin Master Cup

The 13th Berlin Master Cup was held again with many international competitors from Germany, Poland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. For me it was the start in to the competition season 2011, after a half year break since the swiss depth champioship in Herrliberg. I was the only swiss participant so my girlfriend Marianne decided to to accompany and coach me during the comp for a short holiday in Berlin in return. What a deal :-)

The competition was well organized and it was very easy to relax without having to coach fellow competitors. My goal was to have a good time in a good competition. I didn't focus on a top rank or to take back the static record which Nicolas Guerry broke last October, though I knew from the training before I was in a very good shape.

Berlin, 50m pool

My first official top for static was quite late and I had plenty of time to relax and prepare myself. For Marianne it was the first time coaching in a competition but she did a fabulous job! I started in the second last group just after a remarkable blackout. Being under water, everything went fine and I kept deciding to do another period of time until I reached 8 minutes. At this point I remembered what I set myself as goal: To do a good but safe performance. So I decided to go a couple of seconds past the record from Nicolas and then come up. I got I white card, a new national record for Switzerland and the first place in static doing clean 8:09 minutes. 6 seconds past Nicola's and 20 seconds past my former national record.

With the feeling of having done a good job I decided to go for a good but still comfortable DYN. I like the 50 meter pool in Berlin very much because it feels shortest of all the 50 meter pools I know. Having announced 103m, I turned at 100 and just kept going as long as I felt it to be joyful and did my surface protocol at 135 metres. I kind of felt sorry for Adrian Kwiatkowski who set a new national record for Poland with 206m which was broken by his fellow Robert Cetler doing 212m just minutes after.

Berlin dynamic, Michael Naef Berlin dynamic, Michael Naef

I was quite surprised, but happy non the less, to find myself on the 3rd place in the over all ranking though I didn't aim for a rank at all. We had a good party with lots of talks with the interesting new team from Austria at the club home of ntv. I'm curious what the future will bring for the divestyle team.

Marianne and I spent another three days discovering Berlin. I enjoyed to have various brands of beer and berlin "Eisbein" in all the restaurants and bars. But mostly we discovered that berlin in February is freezing cold ;-)

Pictures: Marianne Bosshard, Michael Naef


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