-8 weeks – Where we finally get deep for the first time in 6 years!


Well, we just came back from Turkey, from our first deep water training in almost 6 years! After almost 16 hours of flying, 2 weeks of interviews, media appearances and deep dives, we’re finally home, and we are exhausted. As you may remember, right before we left, Yas had endured weeks of antibiotics, decreased training and a flu that got weaker or stronger in turns, but never quite left her body. We then landed in Turkey and spent the first week of our trip there doing appearances on TV, newspapers, etc, etc. It is amazing how popular Yasemin still is in her native country, even after years of complete absence from the media, but although this interaction with the press is neccessary and a way to give back to our sponsors, they are a sure way to enhaust anybody. Especially in a city like Istanbul, which makes New York look like a placid country village, and where every trip takes hours of driving in the craziest traffic in the world, and you’re always running from the minute you get up until you go to sleep. So, by the time we got to Bodrum, our diving spot, both of us were very weak, tired and depleted of much needed “mojo” to face the deep diving period, but we went ahead anyway.

There were a lot of things to get used to. On the logistical side, a new safety team, a new boat and a new dive location, all of which are very important in making things easier or harder for Yasemin. On the technical side, a new sled, a new monofin and a new wetsuit, all of which must be carefully considered when planning dive depths, speeds of descent and ascent, etc. A lot to deal with in the short time of 7 days. On top of all that, we ourselves had to dig deep into our memories and bring back a lot of procedures, techniques and rituals that we developed for deep diving but that have understandably become foggy in our minds after so many years. Every day we were remembering something we forgot to do and how it could have helped, but by the end of the week, all of our routines were back in place. What has not disappeared, thanks god, is Yasemin’s fluidity and equanimity in the water and my instinct as a trainer that lets me constantly adapt and mold our training system as needed. But, what none of us was expecting was the bad weather that hit us and cut our diving schedule from 6 dives to only 3. I always laugh at the term “bad weather” in the Mediterranean, since rough days there are a good day on this Atlantic side of the world, but given the right combination of winds, currents and temperatures, there can be days there when deep freediving is basically impossible, and we had 3 such days this time around. Worst of all, we went out those days and tried our best to make it happen, and after hours of fighting mother nature’s whims, had to come back to land beaten up, both mentally and physically. But enough of the bad, let’s talk about what we were actually able to do.

My plan called for the first 2 days of diving to be spent testing the new sled, suit and monofin and ascertaining sled ballast, the sled’s brake system effectiveness and the proper ascent technique with the new fin and suit. Since we lost those 2 days, we had to start our dives with a 86 meter dive, which is still shallow for the category, but deep enough to result in a ruptured eardrum, for example, if the sled is too fast descending and not the depth you want to start with. That dive coincided with the 86th aniversary of the Turkish republic, thus our chosen depth, and we used the dive as a symbolic homage of the date and got a nice concentration of press and sponsors to follow the “Republic Dive”. After the luncheon with the media and sponsors, we retired to our room to study the dive graph and see if we could find any clues in there as to why Yasemin’s ears had hurt so much during the dive. Sure enough, her speed of descent was almost 1.7 meters/second, which is phenomenally fast and basically makes it very hard to equalize below 60 meters! Her speed of ascent was good, and the choice of going with a 7mm wetsuit by BoyTech and a new Glide monofin from Waterway surely paid off as her ascent speed was around 1.4 meters/second, her fastest ever! But we still needed to fine tune the sled, make it a little slower, and get more in tune with the safety team, since understandably, they have had some difficulty assimilating and implementing all of our procedures and instructions.

So, against the desire and need to use our 4th diving day to go deeper, we decide to do 2 shallow dives to 60 meters, to get all the kinks worked out in the system. It was our best day, with incredibly flat water, awesome visibility and even a group of 4-5 big dorados (dolphin fish in America, Lambuka in the Mediterranean) swimming around the sled with their amazing yellow and aquamarine tones, an increasingly rare sight in the Med. We found the ideal weight for the sled and Yasemin enjoyed herself with the easy dives. Next, I decided to get into deeper water, with a dive to 92 meters and then a last dive to 100 meters. As it turned out, Poseidon only gave us one more good day, so we were able to do the 92 meter dive but were unable to dive after that. And even then, conditions were tough that day, there was a bit of current, the water was dark as there was not a single ray of sun, and the choppy waves were making the sled bounce up and down enough to treathen to break Yasemin’s rhythm and concentration. On top of that, we got the OK signal from the safety divers very late, basically the signal that tells us whether it is acceptable to dive or not, and I was beginning to get nervous and wanted to cancel the dive. But Yasemin calmed me down and assured me she was ok to dive, so we went ahead. Descent was good, although still a little fast, and the ascent was at the right pace, yielding a dive time of 2:09 minutes, very good for such a depth. Yasemin surfaced with a little ear pain, but with no muscle pain, no fatigue, not winded at all, and certain that she had many more meters left in her on that dive. Based on my post-dive evaluation system, where I take into account many factors, she could have easily done a dive to 115 meters that day, so all in all, I was very happy with the dive and so was she. You can see a graph of the dive here and a little video edit from the dives here also.

All in all, the training period gave us the results we were expecting. We know where we stand in relation to our ultimate goal, and what we need to do from now until December. I know what to do in terms of designing training, and where our weak spots are, what areas we need to focus on and which ones are fine as they are. It is also encouraging that Yasemin did so well, considering she was still sick and weakened from the bad weather and the hotel food, something that has never agreed with her. She ate so little during our time there, that by the time we got back last night, she was weighing 2.5 kilos/6 lbs less than when she left! But we have enough time to get her strong and healthy again, and provided no other obstacles appear in our way, we should be in very good shape for December. I now know that, if she can stay healthy, Yasemin can do this record without a doubt.

3 Responses to “-8 weeks – Where we finally get deep for the first time in 6 years!”

  1. Ivo says:

    Hello Rudi, Yasemin,

    This is Ivo Truxa of the popular freediving portal APNEA.cz. I would like to inform the freediving community about the coming record of Yasemin, and although I parsed through all the messages here on the website, I did not find the principal information:

    What record will Yasemin go for, exactly?

    Well, from the last blog entry it is alt least clear she trains for Variable Weight, so I assume it will be this. But now, we know Yasemin always did records under the F.R.E.E. federation, and that the federation disappeared quite a few years ago. CMAS does not recognize depth disciplines, so it rests only AIDA (VWT female WR of 122m is held by Tanya Streeter). But then, when you want to do an AIDA record, you have to announce it to AIDA International at least four weeks in advance. And since the closure date for the announcement approaches very rapidly, and there is no announcement in AIDA’s calendar yet, I ask myself if you really plan doing it as an official AIDA record, or whether you resurrect the F.R.E.E federation for this attempt, or whether you’ll just do a personal record with no official statute, just for your own pleasure.

    Could you please tell us, whether AIDA will be invited, and whether Yasemin is really going for the 122m AIDA VWT WR of Tanya Streeter? Your answer would be very much appreciated.

    Wishing good luck to Yasemin!

  2. Rudi Castineyra says:


    I posted some answers to your questions on the article “Our goal: 125 meters in Variable Ballast”

    Rudi Castineyra

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