world record – 232m dynamic without fins (DNF) Matt Malina
Behind the scenes
Hard workouts, tremendous amount of training done within last year. All of it plus huge motivation and big smile on my face was taken to Turku. Oh and 100 kg of additional luggage 🙂
DISAPPOINTMENT in static
Day of dynamic without fins (DNF) qualifications has come. Luckily it was not my first start in Turku. Day before not everything went as planned and I have missed static (STA) finale by 6 seconds. I didn’t plan to compete in finale A of static, even if I would qualify. It was only one day before DNF finale and I didn’t want to make myself tired. However I would prefer to choose it myself, not being forced to it. It was a valuable lesson for my ego, that is what everybody try to protect, consciously or sub-consciously 🙂
My work with sport psychologist and healthy motivation
For the past 2 years I co-operate with sport psychologist. Practically speaking, since then I have started to get my biggest successes (e.g breaking my first World Record). Main aspects of healthy motivation are being able to forget about expectations and rating Yourself, because it’s connected with our ego. It’s very important to focus on being present “Here and Now“. Focus on how You would like to feel here and now and just “do Your thing“. It’s healthy attitude and motivation, at least in my case. In DNF qualifications I was full of positive emotions and I was just doing my thing, something that I was preparing for the whole last year.
Additional motivation in dynamic without fins (DNF)
Month earlier during CMAS World Championships in Freediving, Arthur Guerin Boeri have swum 221 m DNF. It’s less than my World Record of 226 m. However it was done in an Olympic sized pool (50 m long) which makes it very respectable. Additionally two days later he was the first man in history to swim 300 m in monofin in DYNamic discipline. In the past I would probably respond to it by feeling fear, maybe it would even brake me as in DNF finale in Belgrade 2013.
Luckily I’m not the same Matt as I used to be in the past. Nowadays, successes of others motivate me . They even show me that something is possible and if someone did it, why should I not do it myself? Additionally this circumstances made me realize how much I care about my goals or in other words, good dives in Turku. It’s another aspect of healthy motivation, to establish emotional bond with Your goal. Because of whole this situation I was anticipating for confrontation with other competitors, especially with Arthur in DNF. Maybe it didn’t have a decisive role, but it certainly helped me.
Two different dives
In qualifications I allowed two options. If dive will not go well, I will do 200 m, to be sure finale A is secured without any calculations. In second option I didn’t set any limit to myself. In freediving there is a lot of little variables that decide about end result. If it happens that all of them work to my favor, it would be a big waste to end perfect dive prematurely. Especially since that kind of dives doesn’t happen often and it may surely not happen in finale with all that extra stress. Anyway, for me the most important fact is to challenge my own limits. If that would happen in qualifications and in finals I would have a bad day, I would still be happy about this one dive. Important is inner journey and feelings.
Course of qualifications
Without any expectations, with one thought in my mind – I do my thing – I’ve started my DNF dive. Quickly I have realized that it’s a good day, maybe even perfect one. Each finished length of the pool confirmed me in that feeling. I was able to swim peacefully and in a relaxed shape.
At 200 m mark I was totally lucid in my head and I knew that I can go to magic 232 m, national record of New Zealand set by legendary Dave Mullins. National record (due to official requirements) set 7 years ago, that was greater than any other world record in this discipline. When I was at 225 m wall, I have made a turn, one arm stroke, removed my neck-weight and came up. I have removed my neck-weight because I wanted to be sure I will not immerse my airways, thus disqualify myself and I had enough air reserve to do it. After surfacing I have completed surface protocol very fast (4 seconds) and white card from judge was just a formality.
Memories of the past and my motivation for the future
I was overwhelmingly happy! I couldn’t believe my dream came true. I remember back in the days in 2009, when Dave set that record. I was in Egypt back then and I was just on the beginning of my freediving journey. My current personal best in discipline was 156 m. 232 m felt far, far away, it was abstraction to me. I never thought I would come even close to that. My lifetime goal was 200 m in DNF for me. However I have reached that mark in 2012 and later I start thinking about World Record. After I’ve set World Record in 2013 I’ve start thinking very shyly about 250 m. Now I know it will happen sooner or later and I’ve start to think very, very, very shyly about 260+, or maybe even 275 m 🙂
You can see dear subscriber how important is healthy motivation. If back in 2009 I would think that my goal is to reach 232 m I would probably discourage myself and would have never done it. This goal was too far and probably any other result wouldn’t make me happy, since my goal wasn’t reached. Instead of this I was creating a personal goal that I could reach within 1, maximum 2 years. Freediving is about listening to our own body and it’s important to race only with ourselves.
Limits are only in our heads
This way my motivation was driving me. I was passing my limits very often and I have come to ultimate conclusion that limits are in our heads. Limit is where I set it to be in my head. It’s important to have common sense and plan for realization of such goals. From observation of myself and others in any sport I think that as long as someone is focused, have motivation and plan for training, he can progress. It is not over until You say it’s over.
Short but precise sentence. Especially in Freediving, where Natalia Molchanova had proved that age is just a number. Good example from other sports is Michael Phelps and his successful come back in recent Olympic games. If he wanted I’m sure he would be able to score a medal or two in Tokyo Olympics but now when he has a kid and some chapter in his life is over, he is probably retired for good.
did I have moments of doubt?
Back to the Freediving World Championships topic, after successful DNF attempt, I’ve started to have moments of doubt. I’ve realized that probably no one have ever set a World Record in qualifications heat. No one had done it because why make myself tired in heats? I’ve heard that I would be better off by saving my strength for finals and I should have planned it better. However I had a different opinion about it. For me heats were primarily a mental warmup and as it turned out later, physical too 🙂
Once I’ve read an article about Olympic champions. I’ve tried to find it but I can’t. Anyway, first there were stereotypical issues analyzed and proved to be wrong e.g champion should train as number 2 (harder, longer etc.). Next it was described that Olympic champions shouldn’t listen to established rules because their work made them what they are, Olympic champions and they should listen to their gut when it comes to tactic or training routine. They should train like champions, not stereotypically, because that’s how they get that far. I must agree with that!
Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER and his words
I have never concealed that motivational speeches of Arnolda Schwarzenegger helped me a lot at some point of my career. One of his thought I come back to often is:
I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I’m the first one that has done it
Was this thinking good in finale A of World Championships? Read in my next post, meanwhile I encourage You to ask questions and comment below!
Want to keep up to date? Subscribe below to be notified about new posts.