28th AIDA World Championship

28th AIDA World Championship

Asya Kleshchevnikova, Sports Columnist
Head of Customer Service & International Sales


Kristina Zvaritch

1. Preview of the World Championship
2. Competition Day 1 (20 June):
2.1. Starting protocols for DYNB
2.2. Official results in DYNB
3. Competition Day 2 (21 June):
3.1. Starting protocols for DNF
3.2. New AIDA World Record in DNF
3.3. Official results for DNF
4. Competition Day 3 (23 June):
4.1. Starting protocols for STA
4.2. Official results for STA
5. Competition Day 4 (24 June):
5.1. Starting protocols for DYN
5.2. New AIDA World Record in DYN
5.3. Official results for DYN

Preview of the World Championship

Hello, freedivers! It’s Asja Kleshchevnikova and Kristina Zvaritch again, and we will continue reporting to you on the freediving marathon. The CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship concluded on June 15th, and on June 20th, the first competition day of the 28th AIDA World Championship begins. Most of the strong athletes moved from the pool in Belgrade to the pool in Burgas, this time to compete according to AIDA rules.

The general idea of both CMAS and AIDA indoor competitions is the same - athletes need to dive underwater in a pool, hold their breaths, and swim as far as possible. However, the devil is always in the details - in our case, the devil is in the surface protocol. According to CMAS rules, after finishing a dive, athletes only need to show the OK sign to judges within 20 seconds of surfacing while keeping their face and airways above the water. According to AIDA rules, after finishing a dive, athletes should take off all of their facial equipment, show the OK sign, and then say “I’m okay” within 15 seconds. If there is any mistake in the protocol (for example, if the actions are performed in the incorrect sequence), the athlete will receive a red card and the dive will be disqualified.

As far as we know, athletes have made several efforts to change AIDA rules, however, they were all made in vain. AIDA claims that, for the sake of safety, the protocol should stay complicated because it reduces the number of blackouts and prevents athletes from exceeding their limits.

The number of competitors in the 2022 CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship and the 28th AIDA World Championship is almost identical with around 130 athletes. During the CMAS Championship, a total of 27 red cards were granted, but only four of the red cards went to underwater blackouts and 13 went to surface blackouts. For curiosity’s sake, we’ll also count the red cards and blackouts at the end of the 28th AIDA World Championship.

Another difference between the CMAS and AIDA World Championship (in this case, the favor goes to AIDA) is the potential monetary prizes and traditional Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award, which is only granted at the end of the AIDA World Championship during the medal ceremony.

The Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award was established in 2015 in memory of Natalia Molchanova, who was nicknamed the “queen of freediving” by the freediving community for her outstanding achievements in sports and tremendous contribution to the development of freediving. The award is presented to the most worthy male and female athletes. The awardees are usually chosen by AIDA World Championship judges; however, most of the time, the award is given to the overall winners of the competition. In 2018, AIDA International decided to include a monetary prize to the recipients of this honorable award in the sum of €1,500/~US$1,867.

In addition to the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award, during 27th AIDA Depth World Championship in Cyprus last year, the champions of every discipline were granted not only medals but also cash prizes. First-place winners were given 1,000EUR, second-place winners were awarded 750EUR, and 500EUR was given to the third-place recipients. Perhaps this year, athletes will have another opportunity to win monetary prizes. Considering that freediving isn't an Olympic sport as of yet and, therefore, isn't always supported by governments, such prizes can be quite valuable for athletes and may benefit the development of freediving.

One more advantage of AIDA competitions is the mass media coverage of the event, which is quite important for the development of the sport. In addition to the traditionally arranged broadcast (with the excellent and well-known commentator Brandon Reed), the first day of the competition will be reported on by one of the two biggest national television companies of Bulgaria (who own 40% of shares in the Bulgarian TV market).

It seems that this year’s Championship is well-organized and will ultimately benefit the athletes. The Championship will take place at the Park Arena OZK - a modern swimming pool that opened in 2018. It offers excellent conditions for pool disciplines and can hold up to 1200 spectators. The pool conditions will be as follows:

  • Number of lanes: 10
  • Lane length: 50m (164ft)
  • Lane depth: Varying depths from 2m (7ft) at one end to 3m (10ft) at the other end
  • Lane width: 2.5m (8ft)
  • Water temperature: 26°C (78.8°F)

Athletes will compete according to the following schedule:

  • 20 June - Dynamic With Bifins (DYNB)
  • 21 June - Dynamic Without Fins (DNF)
  • 23 June - Static (STA)
  • 24 June - Dynamic (DYN)

On June 18th, the Championship officially began with an opening ceremony attended by 130 athletes from 29 countries.

Many strong athletes and current world record holders arrived, which will surely make the Championship very interesting to watch. We anxiously await the performances of the World Record holders from Poland (Magdalena Solich-Talanda and Julia Kozerska) and France (Guillaume Bourdila). Hopefully, the very strong athletes William Joy of China, Rami Bladlav of Sweden, and Vitomir Maričić of Croatia will show us their true potential and surprise us with outstanding performances and possible new world records.

We are also happy to see the large national teams of Japan and Korea. Freediving is becoming very popular in these countries and athletes are developing quickly. Therefore, we might be lucky to see some new names on the pedestal, or at least witness some intense competition for medals by Japanese and Korean freedivers against the more experienced freedivers from Europe.

Every day of the Championship, we’ll inform you of the most anticipated performances to make sure that you don’t miss a second of the history of freediving in the making. We’ll also share the link to the online broadcast, and afterward, highlight the most remarkable events of the day, the names of the winners, and hopefully, new world records.

So stay tuned, cheer on the athletes, and don't miss out on news from Burgas!

Competition Day 1 (20 June)

Starting protocols for DYNB

On June 20th, the first competition day of the 28th AIDA World Championship in Burgas, athletes will compete in DYNB.

The arrangement of the start list according to AIDA rules and regulations is that athletes will start according to their Announced Performance (AP), from the shortest to the longest distances. On the one hand, athletes can indirectly influence the time they compete (the shorter distance you announce, the earlier you will perform). But on the other hand, if two athletes swim the same distance, the athlete whose AP is closer to the Realized Performance (RP, or the actual distance they swim) wins.

In every heat, six athletes will begin their performances simultaneously. We hope the broadcast will somehow be arranged in a way that we can see all of the athletes, as it is always sad to miss the performance of a strong athlete or a world record just because the athlete is swimming in a lane without an underwater camera.

Due to lower APs, several strong athletes such as Agnieszka Kalska of Poland and Petar Klovar of Croatia (personal best of 239m/784ft and top six in AIDA ranking) are diving in the third heat. Official Top for the athletes is 9:50 am (GMT+3). Agnieszka and Petar did not perform DYNB during the CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship, therefore, we don’t know what exactly to expect from them now. What we do know for sure is that the athletes are quite capable of surprising their fans with extraordinary performances.

Then, in the next heat at 10 am Burgas local time (GMT+3), Molchanovs mentee Mai Morimura of Japan will compete. This will be Mai’s second World Championship - last year she competed in DYNB at the CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship in Belgrade in DYNB and performed a 157m (515ft) distance. In just one year, Mai has significantly improved her results - in March 2022, she already performed a distance of 198m (650ft) in DYNB at a local competition in Sweden, which puts Mai in the top 10 AIDA ranking by discipline.

At the fifth heat at 10:10 am, make sure you don’t miss the performance of Ming Jin (William Joy) of China. With his personal best (PB) of 276m (906ft), William currently holds second place in the AIDA ranking by discipline right after his mentor, Polish athlete Mateusz Malina. At the CMAS Championship in Belgrade, William achieved a bronze medal in DYNB with a 251.6m (825ft) result.

William’s main competitor in the Championship - French athlete Guillaume Bourdila, will perform in the final heat at 12:40 pm. At the CMAS Championship, Guillaume recently performed an official PB of 274.7m (901ft), which was 64cm (2ft) further than Mateusz Malina's performance and eventually became the new CMAS World Record in DYNB. However, the AIDA World Record in DYNB of 290m (951ft) still belongs to Mateusz and it isn’t likely that Guillaume is currently capable of beating it. Therefore, competing in the last heat is a good strategic move for Guillaume. Before his performance, he will already know the results of all his competitors and will be able to swim exactly the distance needed to secure himself an AIDA World Champion title. It seems that Guillaume prefers to work smarter, not harder. All the more interesting it will be for us to watch the race.

Current CMAS World Record holder Mirela Kardašević of Croatia is not attending the AIDA Championship; therefore, the indisputable favorite in DYNB is Polish athlete and current AIDA World Record holder Magdalena Solich-Talanada. Magdalena will perform in the last heat at 12:40 pm (GMT+3).

We are also very intrigued to see the performance of David Čustić of Croatia, who just returned to competing after being suspended for doping. Potentially, David can fight for a medal together with Guillaume, William, and Petar. Official Top for David is 12:30 pm (GMT+3). Binna Kang of Korea will perform at the same time. Although Binna began competing only in 2019, she has already managed to set a national record and has become a new Molchanovs mentee. This Championship is the first in Binna’s freediving career, so we hope that she will stay calm, cool, and collected and improve her own PB or even set a new national record. An interesting fact about Binna is that she is also a musician and vocalist of her band “StorySeller.“ If you need to calm your nerves after all the Championship excitement, check Binna’s songs on YouTube!

We wish all of the athletes good luck! The broadcast begins at 9:30 am Burgas local time (GMT+3) on this channel AIDA Freediving. Don’t miss out on any special moments and join the broadcast to cheer on your favorite athletes!

Official results in DYNB

On June 20th in Burgas, Bulgaria, freedivers competed in the Dynamic with Bifins (DYNB) discipline at the 28th AIDA World Championship.

Without Mateusz Malina, the current AIDA World Record holder in DYNB with 290m (951ft), and Mirela Kardašević of Croatia, the current CMAS World Record holder in DYNB with 250m (820ft), the general level of competition was fairly mild. No new world records were expected and both the leaders among the men and women were easily predicted before the start of the day. However, there is a bright side to that as well - we saw new names on the pedestal.

At the beginning of the day, Petar Klovar of Croatia performed a very strong and clean dive of 251m (823ft), setting the bar very high for a gold medal. Petar’s dive was the top performance of the day until teammate David Čustić and French athlete Guillaume Bourdila took the stage in the last two heats. David did not participate in any recent official competitions due to his facing suspension for doping; therefore, no one knew for sure what to expect from the athlete this year. But he appeared to be as strong a competitor as ever, confidently performing a dive of 265m (869ft).

The very experienced Guillaume Bourdila performed a dive of the same distance. With the absence of the current AIDA World Record holder in DYNB, Mateusz Malina (290m/951ft), Guillaume was the main favorite for the gold medal. In theory, David and Guillaume could have shared first place, but not this time.

In AIDA competitions, there is a tradition where athletes can submit protests to argue for another athlete’s disqualification after the official starts have ended. Athletes who previously received white cards can submit counter-protests to defend their positions and protect their results from disqualifications. This process can be a long one - preliminary results may be revised several times and the declared winners can change over the course of several rounds of protests.

That is exactly what happened on the first day of the Championship. After several rounds of protests and reviews of the dive footage, David Čustić was disqualified for a mistake in the surface protocol. Guillaume’s white card performance was also put into question and his title of AIDA World Champion has been rescinded due to a yellow card given for his turns. On each of his turns, Guillaume placed his hand on the bottom of the pool and not on the pool wall, which resulted in a 5-point deduction for each turn, totaling -20 points in penalties. Therefore, the male DYNB pedestal turned out to be very unexpected. Petar Klovar became AIDA World Champion in DYNB for his performance of 250m (820ft) and Yueh Shiang Hsu of Taiwan as Vice-Champion. Yueh Shiang Hsu performed a solid dive of 240m (787ft) and also set a new AIDA National Record for Taiwan in DYNB. The bronze medal eventually went to Polish athlete Karol Karcz with his performance of 210m (689ft). Congratulations to you all!

Among the women, the winner was a predictable choice. Magdalena Solich-Talanda of Poland is currently the current AIDA World Record holder with a previous performance of 243m (797ft). Today, she easily snatched the gold medal with her 236m (774ft) performance, making her the AIDA World Champion in DYNB. Congratulations, Magdalena!

However, there was a bit of a mystery surrounding who would claim the silver and bronze medals. Several athletes had very close results, however, we were thrilled to see Kateryna Sadurska from Ukraine become the AIDA Vice-Champion in DYNB! Despite her country’s difficulties in the raging war in Ukraine, Kateryna managed to prepare for the Championship in Dahab, Egypt, and performed today at a very high level. Kateryna is an experienced athlete - she participated in the Olympic Games as a synchronized swimmer before beginning her career as a freediver in 2017. This is her first medal earned in a world championship event. Congratulations, Kateryna, on your well-deserved silver medal!

After Yasuko Ozeki - the AIDA National Record holder in DYNB of Japan - received a red card for her performance of 209m/686ft for failure to successfully perform surface protocol, the bronze medal went to Lidija Lijić of Croatia. Lidia has spent 17 years as a competitive freediver and has been participating in AIDA competitions since 2005, attending her first AIDA World Championship in 2007. During her time as a competitor, Lidia has set five world records, and yet she continues to improve her PBs and win more medals! Congratulations to you, Lidia!

We would like also to congratulate Molchanovs mentee Mai Morimura of Japan, who successfully performed a 207m (679ft) dive with only 2m (7ft) separating her from the bronze medal. It is only the second World Championship for Mai - last year, she performed a 157m (515ft) dive. She made 50m (164ft) of progress in just one year, which is truly remarkable. Hearty congratulations to you, Mai, on your new official PB and massive improvement - we hope to see you on the pedestal next year!

Today, we only spoke about the winners, but in total, 98 freedivers made the attempt to swim as far as possible in one breath with bifins. We hope that all of the athletes, safeties, and judges get plenty of rest and recovery time after their first competition day. Tomorrow, athletes will be competing in an even more challenging discipline - Dynamic Without Fins. Stay tuned!

Competition Day 2 (21 June)

Starting protocols for DNF

June 21st is the second competition day of the 28th AIDA World Championship. Freedivers will compete in the most demanding discipline - Dynamic Without Fins (DNF), and the competition promises to be intense.

Two of the strongest women in DNF, the current AIDA World Record holder Magdalena Solich-Talanda and her nearest rival Julia Kozerska of Poland, will compete for the gold medal and World Champion title. Julia performs at the beginning of the day - her official top time is 9:30 am Burgas local time (GMT+3) and Magdalena will perform in the last heat at 12:30 pm (GMT+3). Who of the strongest will win? We will learn very soon - don't miss it!

For third place, several athletes will compete. The official personal bests (PBs) of French athlete Hinatea Penilla-Y-Perella Marere and Australian athlete Amber Bourke are the same. Perhaps, together with the quickly evolving Ukrainian athlete Kateryna Sadurskaya, they may all have a claim at the bronze.

We also need to keep a close eye on athletes from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. According to the results from the first day of competition, these freedivers are capable of surprising us with performances at very high levels.

In the absence of the current AIDA World Record holder in DNF, Mateusz Malina, the race for the gold medal among the men is likely to be played out between French athlete Guillaume Bourdila and Croatian freediving beasts Petar Klovar and David Čustić. We wish for all of the athletes to perform clean and indisputable dives!

However, we really have no idea who else might make their way to the pedestal if any of the top three athletes makes even the smallest mistake. Let’s watch the broadcast and find it out together.

The broadcast begins at 9:30 am Burgas local time (GMT+3):

New AIDA World Record in DNF

If you have been following us for at least two weeks, you probably already know the name of a remarkably strong Polish athlete - Julia Kozerska.

Less than 9 days ago at the CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship, Julia set an absolute world record by diving 210m (689ft) in one breath with no fins, leaving her competitor Mirela Kardašević of Croatia 10m (33ft) behind.

On June 21st, during the 28th AIDA World Championship, Julia decided to repeat her achievement, taking back the AIDA World Record in this discipline by performing a very beautiful dive to 209m (686ft).

Less than 2 months ago, Julia set her previous world record in DNF of 202m (663ft) at the AIDA Polish Freediving Pool Championships. However, that record didn't last long, because on the same day in the same competition, another Polish athlete, Magdalena Solich-Talanda, raised the bar in DNF by performing a 207m (679ft) dive.

The world record now belongs to Julia again. We believe that her record will linger for a long while since, during this championship event, Magdalena performed a 180m (591ft) dive and was content with her silver medal in DNF.

Julia has been training freediving since 2011. Previously, she won the bronze and silver medals in the 2016 and 2018 AIDA Championships. But today, on June 21st, 2022, Julia became AIDA World Champion and World Record holder in DNF at the same time. Congratulations, Julia - we hope to see even greater results from you next year!

Official Results for DNF

June 22nd in Burgas was the second competition day of the 28th AIDA World Championship. Athletes competed in Dynamic Without Fins (DNF).

The very first dive of the day became the furthest dive of the day among all the competitors, including the male AIDA World Champion. Julia Kozerska of Poland swam 209m (686ft), setting a new AIDA World Record in DNF and winning the gold medal. It is perhaps the first time a woman set an absolute record for the day at the World Championship in a dynamic discipline. In STA, Natalia Molchanova also outdid the men in the 2013 Individual AIDA Pool World Championships.

As expected, the silver medal and Vice-Champion title went to another Polish athlete, Magdalena Solich-Talanda. Being an ex-world record holder in DNF with 207m (679ft), Magdalena decided not to push her limits this time and confidently completed her dive to 180m (591ft).

It also was no surprise to see Kateryna Sadurska of Ukraine winning the bronze medal. Katerina is quickly improving her official personal bests (PBs) and national records from one competition dive to the other, and this time she swam a distance of 171m (561ft) without fins. Congratulations to all the women on their beautiful dives - it was a pleasure to watch your performances!

However, for the men, this Championship continues to be an unlucky one. On the second day, even those who held strong on the first day gave up. It may be the result of long protests and the related disappointment - either way, none of the men managed to show their true potential and perform at full capacity. The World Champion in DYNB of the previous day, Petar Klovar of Croatia, blacked out after 172m (564ft). Then his teammate, David Čustić, swam 176m (577ft); however, similar to the first day, he did not successfully complete the surface protocol. As a result, both athletes received red cards and were disqualified.

Ming Jin (William Joy) of China, whose PB in DNF is 206m (676ft), hardly managed with 153m (502ft) distance. On the previous competition day in DYNB, William also performed 53m (174ft) less than his personal best of 276m (906ft) in the discipline. This is not looking good for the athlete - we are hoping he is not becoming ill.

It seems that only Guillaume Bourdila of France lived up to his potential for the gold medal. Guillaume swam alone at the very end of the day, so we had the chance to see his dive from start to surface protocol - it was a beautiful and relaxed dive. From the moment he was scheduled to dive, Guillaume already knew the results of his competitors; therefore, he did not have a good reason to swim much further than 185m (607ft) to become the AIDA World Champion in DNF. Guillaume completed his dive at 193m (633ft) and received the gold medal and the title. It's excellent to see that the athlete was not discouraged after disappointing penalties on the first day and that he managed to correct his mistake on the turns and stay focused on the end result. Congratulations, Guillaume, on the well-deserved victory!

The silver and bronze medals eventually went to two Polish athletes, Karol Karcz and Michał Bochenek, who both performed dives of 185m (607ft) and 159m (522ft), respectively. Both athletes are ranked 43 and 42 in the world for DNF, so they were not very obvious contenders for the medals. But even in pool freediving, the motto "do what you can do, and let it be what it should be" seems to be a working winning strategy. Congratulations to Karol and Michał!

During the second day of the Championship, athletes performed 67 dives in total and earned 54 white cards. The next day, June 22nd, is a rest day at the Championship. We hope all the athletes, judges, and safeties will have enough rest before the second part of the Championship and have plenty of energy to surprise us with outstanding performances. Stay tuned!

Competition Day 3 (23 June)

Starting protocols for STA

On the third competition day at the 28th AIDA World Championship in Burgas, athletes will perform in static apnea (STA).

In this discipline, the rivalry for medals among the women promises to be interesting. The best chance for the top of the podium belongs to the winner in CNF, Julia Kozerska of Poland, and to French athlete Sylvie Gilson. Both athletes have personal bests of around 8 minutes with a 5-second difference. The question is if Julia has had enough rest and recovery and can perform a maximum attempt after breaking a new world record. Let’s watch the broadcast and see!

A group of athletes from different countries with results of around 7 minutes will also compete for medals. These athletes are Agnieszka Kalska of Poland, Yuriko Ichihara of Japan, and Kateryna Sadurska of Ukraine. It will also be very interesting to see the multiple world record holder in dynamic disciplines, Magdalena Solich-Talanda, competing in STA.

Among the men, the competition may be even more intense and unpredictable. If we are basing the forecast on the most recent results of the athletes, then the main favorites in the discipline are Swedish freedivers Valdemar Karlsson and Rami Bladlav. In May, they were fiercely fighting with each other for the AIDA National Record of Sweden. So far, Rami is leading with a small advantage of 11 seconds - his result is unbelievable at 9 minutes and 39 seconds. Valdemar is on Rami's heels with 9’28“.

It is very likely that French athlete Laurent De Beaucaron will wedge himself into Rami and Valdemar's rivalry for a medal. This year, Laurent has also shown a result of over 9 minutes in STA.

Last year, Ibrahim Al Salatni also managed to hold his breath in STA for more than 9 minutes, although this year, his results have been quite moderate. However, he is still capable of sneaking onto the pedestal.

And finally, there is a group of male athletes with results of around 8 minutes, for example, Ming Jin (William Joy) of China and Petar Klovar of Croatia. Under very particular circumstances, these athletes may also make their way to the podium.

Don't miss out on the competition in this most spectacular discipline of freediving! The broadcast begins at 9:30 am Burgas local time (GMT+3).

Official results for STA (for Molchanovs)

On the third day of the 28th AIDA World Championship, freedivers competed in Static Apnea (STA).

We believe that STA is the most intriguing discipline of freediving for two reasons. First, watching athletes compete in STA from the side looks like nothing is going on; athletes lay at the pool’s surface with their faces in water and rarely tap the pool side with their finger.

It's remarkable to imagine how this idea for a competition in this event even came into someone's mind. Second, among all the disciplines of competitive freediving, STA has the most long-lasting world records. Among women, the world record in STA of 9:02 belongs to Russian athlete Natalia Molchanova since 2013. The male world record of 11:35 was set by Stéphane Mifsud of France. Considering the results that athletes are showing in STA at competitions nowadays, it doesn't seem likely that someone will manage to break these two records soon.

Despite all the jokes about the excitement of the discipline, sometimes it can be quite interesting to watch. For example, when several of the strongest athletes in the last heat were holding their breaths and laying at the pool’s surface, that was the very moment that the fate of the medals were at stake. But unfortunately, there were no unexpected surprises. All the medals eventually went to the favorites we originally predicted.

From the beginning, Valdemar Karlsson of Sweden showed a very strong result of 8:58 and (spoiler alert!) became the AIDA World Champion in STA. But we didn’t know that for sure until the very last heat.

Around the middle of the day, Ming Jin (William Joy) of China managed not to breathe for 8:37, which eventually brought him the bronze medal. We heartily congratulate William! During the previous two competition days, William was always on our list of favorites, but managed to get his first medal at the Championship only in STA so far.

All the freediving fans were waiting for the last heat when Rami Bladlav of Sweden (the athlete with the top offical PB in STA) and French athlete Laurent De Beaucaron performed. We believe that most of you might have been rooting for Molchanovs Ambassador Rami, who actively blogged about the details of his preparation for the Championship on social media. However, Rami didn't seem to manage well with the stress of the Championship and completed his attempt at 7:55. Due to disappointment, Rami decided not to perform the surface protocol and received a red card. Keep trying, Rami, you will nail it next time for sure!

Meanwhile, Laurent confidently held his breath until 8:41 and became the AIDA Vice-Champion in STA. It seems to be the first AIDA World Championship for Laurent and he already made such an impressive achievement. Congratulations, Laurent, on your extremely successful debut!

Among the women, the competition went much more predictably with all the favorites reaching notable results. In the beginning of the day, Agnieszka Kalska of Poland reached 7:14, which became the third best result and brought her the bronze medal at the end of the day. A bit later, her teammate and DNF World Record holder Julia Kozerska held her breath for 7:41, earning herself the silver medal. Finally, in the last heat, French athlete Sylvie Gilson performed. Knowing the results of all of her competitors, she confidently made her breath-hold last 7:49 and became the AIDA World Champion in STA. Congratulations to all of the athletes!

We also would like to draw your attention to the results of Ukrainian athlete Kateryna Sadurska - 6:56. She had the fourth longest performance of the women at the Championship and now holds the new AIDA National Record for Ukraine in STA. But her road to victory wasn’t easy. After the performance, Kateryna had to make her way through several rounds of protests only because judges did not hear the entire phrase "I am OK" - they only heard "I am..." It seems like this is just another sign that AIDA's surface protocol needs to be revised in order to minimize the chance of mistakes made by both judges and athletes.

During these three competition days, we have seen 188 performance of freedivers from all around the world. And now we are at the finish line of the last competition day of the 28th AIDA World Championship. The most beautiful discipline that takes athletes the furthest awaits us. Don't miss it, stay tuned!

Competition Day 4 (24 June)

Starting protocols for DYN

On the final day of the 28th AIDA World Championship, athletes compete in the discipline with the most distance - Dynamic With Monofin (DYN).

If nothing unpredictable happens, the absolute favorite in the discipline among the women - Magdalena Solich-Talanda of Poland - should come out on top. Magdalena holds the current AIDA World record in DYN of 277m (909ft). Magdalena's teammate, Julia Kozerska, will most likely claim the silver medal with her official personal best (PB) in the discipline being 244m (801ft). Kateryna Sadurska of Ukraine most probably can be expected to win third place if she isn't too exhausted from the protests of the previous day. But it's impossible to guess who might be fourth or who could steal a medal if one of the favorites leaves the race because many of the women have results of around 200m (656ft).

The situation among the men is rather extraordinary as well. Ming Jin (William Joy) and Guillaume Bourdila will very likely compete for the first place. But who might be third? Polish athlete Karol Karcz, who is now in very good shape, or David Čustić of Croatia, who previously swam very far this Championship, but continues to experience issues with the surface protocol? Or maybe someone will surprise freediving fans with new impressive PBs that are good enough to put them on the pedestal? Let's watch the broadcast and find out together!

The broadcast begins at 9:30 am Burgas local time (GMT+3) on AIDA International channel.

Official Tops for the main favorites are as follows:

  • 9:50 am - Karol Karcz (POL)
  • 11:50 am - Kateryna Sadurska (UKR)
  • 12:20 pm - David Čustić (HRV) and Julia Kozerska (POL)
  • 12:30 pm - Guillaume Bourdila (FRA), Ming Jin (William Joy) (CHN) and Magdalena Solich-Talanda (POL)

New AIDA World Record in DYN

On June 24th, 2022, at the 28th AIDA World Championship, French athlete Guillaume Bourdila set a new AIDA World Record in DYN, improving the previous record by 1m (3ft).

The previous AIDA World Record in DYN of 300m (984ft), set by Mateusz Malina of Poland and Giorgos Panagiotakis of Greece in 2016, remained unbreakable for six long years. Finally, Guillaume turned at 300m and set the bar a little bit higher.

Guillaume, now a 28-year-old athlete and sports coach, began training freediving in 2015. Just 3 years later, he had already set his first world record in DNF and continued to perform successfully in all dynamic disciplines. This year, at the 28th AIDA World Championship, he won the gold in DNF, swam the furthest distance in DYNB (but received a red card for his technically incorrect turns) and set a new AIDA World Record in DYN.

Although this result isn't an absolute world record in DYN (which is 321.43m / 1,055ft and belongs to Mateusz Malina of Poland), Guillaume finally took over Matteusz's solitary spot at the top and became the second person in the world who joined the “over 300m club" in DYN.

Congratulations, Guillaume, Champion du Monde - we are looking forward to seeing your “further” progress in the next season!

Official results for DYN

On June 24th, the last day of the 28th AIDA World Championship in Burgas, athletes competed in DYN.

Among the women, events developed in the way we forecasted. Magdalena Solich-Talanda of Poland, with a dive of 265m (869ft), proved herself to be the strongest female athlete in the discipline and won the gold medal. Her teammate, Julia Kozerska, renewed her official personal best (PB) with a dive of 260m (853ft), becoming the Vice-Champion in DYN. Kateryna Sadurska of Ukraine confidently swam to third place, finishing her dive at 244m (801ft). However, due to her protests in recent days, Kateryna focused on pronouncing “I’m okay” loud and clear, but forgot to show the OK sign. Sadly, Kateryna received a red card for her surface protocol, and as a result, the bronze medal was taken by Yasuko Ozeki of Japan. She performed a dive of 214m (702ft) and received a white card. Congratulations to all of the amazing women!

We also would like to proudly mention the fact that Julia’s dive was the first competition dive with the new Molchanovs monofin - the PRO Monofin 4 Fiberglass. It was delivered to Julia right after its release less than 2 weeks ago, and we did not expect to see anyone already competing with such a new product. So it was a welcome surprise and we are very happy that the efficiency of our newest monofin has proven to be a success at the Championship. Thank you, Julia - it’s an honor to see you competing with our new monofin!

Molchanovs Mentee Mai Morimura of Japan once again made it to the top five athletes of the DYN competition ranking. Her performance of 200m (656ft) is also a new PB. At this Championship, Mai competed in all the dynamic disciplines, received 3 white cards for all of her dives, and set a new AIDA National record of Japan in DYNB. Additionally, all of her results were consistently in the top five of the competition ranking. Mai has grown a lot as an athlete since her first World Championship in 2021 and we know there is hard work behind this great improvement. Well done, Mai - we are happy to have you as a part of the Molchanovs team and we wish you a successful journey to the podium next year!

Among the men, a historical event happened. For the first time in an AIDA competition, a male athlete managed to turn at 300m (984ft) and set a new AIDA World Record of 301m (988ft). To our surprise, the hero of the day was not Chinese athlete Ming Jin (Willian Joy), who had the furthest official PB of 296m (971ft) that is only 5m/16ft away from a new AIDA World Record. Instead, French athlete Guillaume Bourdila stole the show in DYN, and this was also his first time participating in an AIDA competition. A huge round of applause to Guillaume!

Meanwhile, William still did not display any dynamic performances that are close to his PBs. With a monofin, William swam a distance of 257m (843ft) and fell 1m (3ft) behind the cutoff for the podium, placing him in fourth.

David Čustić of Croatia finally made it to the podium with a result of 258m (846ft). David has also shown medal-winning results in DYNB and DNF, but both times he failed to receive a white card because of mistakes made in surface protocol. Third time's a charm - congratulations, David!

Only 1m (3ft) has also decided second and third places. The silver medal went to Yueh Shiang Hsu of Taiwan, who swam a distance of 259m (850ft) and set a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia. It is the second silver medal and second continental record for Yueh Shiang Hsu, and we believe it was his first-ever AIDA World Championship. Congratulations to Yueh on his extremely successful debut!

During the four competition days at the 28th AIDA World Championship, all of the athletes performed a total of 360 dives, set 2 new AIDA World Records, and 5 new AIDA Continental Records, which are as follows:

  • DYNB - Mai Morimura (JPN), 207m/679ft, new Asian Women’s CR
  • DYNB - Evan Walter (USA), 191m/627ft, new North American Men’s CR
  • DYNB - Yueh Shiang Hsu (TWN), 240m/787ft, new Asian Men’s CR
  • DYNB - Evan Walter (USA), 191m/627ft, new North American Men’s CR
  • STA - William Joy (CHN), 8:37, new Asian Men’s CR
  • DYN - Yasuko Ozeki (JPN), 214m/702ft, new Asian Women’s CR
  • DYN - Yueh Shiang Hsu (TWN), 259m/850ft, new Asian Men’s CR

The award ceremony was held at the end of the Championship and all of the winners were granted monetary prizes: 1000EUR for first place, 750EUR for second place, and 500EUR for third place.

The overall winners of the Championship and of the Natalia Molchanova Memorial Award became two Polish athletes Magdalena Solich-Talanda and Karol Larzac. Magdalena performed in 3 disciplines and got 340.5 points in total, while Kalor participated in all four disciplines and received 426.6 points. Congratulations on the victory!

If you watched the broadcast or at least read some of our reports, you might have noticed that during the entire Championship, French and Polish athletes were leading in most disciplines. We have taken the time to count the medals that each national team earned. The results showed that the national team of Poland is the absolute winner! In total, Polish athletes won 3 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals.

  • The French national team won 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal
  • The national team of Croatia received 1 gold medal and 2 bronze medals
  • The Swedish national team took away 1 gold medal
  • The national team of Taiwan is arriving home with 2 silver medals
  • One bronze medal went to both China and Japan’s national teams

On this note, the 28th AIDA World Championship is officially over! Congratulations to all of the athletes and a huge thank you to all the safeties, judges and organizers - you are all superheroes to be part of such a big event. This was an absolutely beautiful festival of freediving!

On our part, it was enjoyable to publish reports on AIDA International’s website. However, at Molchanovs, we have more room to be a bit more impartial, and could not miss the fact that there were 53 red cards in this championship event. At the beginning of the report, we recalled that during the CMAS Freediving Indoor World Championship, which took place just several days before the AIDA Championship, 27 red cards in total were given out. Out of those 27 red cards, 13 red cards were given for surface blackouts and 4 red cards were given for underwater blackouts. During AIDA Championship, 12 red cards were for surface blackouts and 4 red cards were for underwater blackouts.

This seems to show that complicated surface protocol neither increases safety nor reduces the number of blackouts. However, it does increase the number of red cards, as 20 out of 53 red cards were given for mistakes in surface protocols. It is painful to think that months of dedicated toil, medals, and national (or even world records) may be lost in vain just because of a mistake in formal procedure. Of course, we understand that this brief analysis doesn’t have much significant statistical meaning, but we still hope that it can inspire someone to do more thorough research on this matter and that, maybe eventually, AIDA competitions will become more athlete-friendly.