There are those whose underwater experiences end at a few laps in the pool, a swim in the lake, or a few bobs in the ocean waves. Then, there are those whose experiences underwater are endless. One of them is Martine Taagholt.
Martine is a vastly experienced free diver having graced multiple bodies of water with her exploration. Perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that water, and being in the water, has been a motif throughout her entire life stemming from childhood. Initially as a swimmer, then as pool diver, and now, as a diver as free as a bird.
“My life has been full of swimming and water-related activities,” she shares, having participated in baby swimming, youth swimming, competitive swimming, and elite swimming, in addition to her experience as a swim coach, competitive swim coach, pool guard, lifeguard, scuba diver and now, as a free diver.
Though swimming had always been a firm staple in her life, free diving was the sweet spot. It quickly became the activity that aligned most with her heart and spirit.
“My first free diving experiences were in the Philippines and Indonesia and I thought ’Wow, that's just a bit (read: a lot) cooler than scuba diving...a lot more badass!’ When I got home I contacted a free diving club and then started the ‘adventure.’”
“On a very basic level, it speaks to one's senses in a different way from other sports. To me, the silence, the colors and the feeling of being weightless in the water means a lot.”
Her minimal diving equipment in the water is important in her mission to remain “weightless.” That’s precisely why she chooses to dive with her ideal pair of THEMAGIC5 swimming goggles.
“With Magic5 I can have 100% focus on my dives and nothing else –– no frustrating equipment,” she says.
When Martine isn’t free diving, she devotes her time participating in light training. She works out about one to four times a week, does, yoga, and practices deep-breathing exercises. In fact, her training perfectly mirrors the essence of free diving itself.
“I stay focused, but with room for fun and play. I have to have fun, so I do a lot of what I feel like, but always make sure to push myself a little for each workout,” she says.
Martine’s relationship with free diving is the reminder we need that any experience is what we choose to make it.
While swimming to some means a cyclical experience in a heated pool, to others, it’s pushed to be so much more. It’s limitless, unbound, unique, and continually pushed to deeper levels both literally and emotionally.
All we have to do to achieve what Martine feels when she free dives is stay curious, be open to adventure, and dive right in when the opportunity presents itself.
Hey Michael! Awesome that you’re thinking about doing freediving! First, I would recommend to try and let go of the pressure you’re feeling that you have to achieve something special (my focus in the first dives of practice is always finding peace in my mind). Once you’ve let that feeling go, you can start to do a few static breath-holds with a buddy with long pauses with the pure focus of feeling calm and enjoying the dive – floating in a warm pool with your eyes closed and letting your thoughts flow. As you start to get comfortable doing static dives you can push yourself a little further and start to feel contractions – and try some dynamic dives! But remember: never dive alone!
Always thought about doing freediving but concerned that I can’t hold my breath for long enough. How do you practice that?