This year’s team selection saw the highest number of athletes applying in US Freediving history with well over a dozen submitting. Freediving is one of the fastest growing aquatic activities and this is reflected in this year’s strong interest in the team.
Francesca Koe, US Freediving Vice-President, says, "It is very exciting to see all of the enthusiasm and growing participation in our sport. Nowhere is this more manifest than the sheer number of applications we received this year for Team Worlds in Sardinia. We've got a great and diverse group of divers - I know they will represent the United States very well."
The USA Freediving Team members are as follows
Ashley Futral Chapman
Alternate = Shell Eisenberg
Alternate = Jonathan Lata
Ashley Chapman is a three-time world record holder in Dynamic No Fins, current national record holder in Constant Weight, Constant No fins, Free Immersion, and Dynamic. She is a freediving instructor with Evolve Freediving based in North Carolina. She is recently back to freediving after the birth of her daughter Ani. Ashley states, “ I am very excited to be back to freediving and am looking forward to competing at Worlds again. This year’s team should be strong and an amazing group.”
Kerry Hollowell is relatively new to freediving and has been competing for only a few years. She is a doctor based in North Carolina and has pioneered training for safety freedivers in freediving competitions. Kerry says, “I am so excited to be part of the team. I cannot wait to get to Italy and begin training as a team.”
Ashleigh Baird is an architect and enjoys freediving as a break from that demanding career. She is well known for her appearance in the GoPro Tonga Humpback Whale video and finds herself in front of the camera from time to time. She is a lifetime resident of Florida. Ashleigh commented, “I am so stoked. It will be so exciting to be at worlds for the first time.”
Shell Eisenberg is a graduate with a degree in marine biology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She is the new kid on the US Freediving block having competed for the first time this year. She is currently an instructor and working for Performance Freediving International. Shell said, “I was quite surprised to be chosen as an alternate for Team USA this year. I feel deeply honored and proud to be part of a team of divers and friends, each of whom I greatly admire and respect. I look forward to the group-dynamic of the competition and working together toward a common goal."
Steven Benson is the current US Record holder in Static. He is a Physician’s Assistant based in North Carolina. He has only been competing in freediving for three years and has made rapid gains since beginning. Steve mentioned, “Freediving:
Kurt Chambers is a well-known photographer based in the Kona area of Hawai’i shooting both topside and underwater. He also teaches freediving. Kurt recently completed the deepest US dive in bi fins ever performed to 82 meters at the Freedive Paradise competition in Hawaii. Kurt says, "I tried to qualify for the Worlds team this year because I finally feel like I'm ready to compete at an international level. I hope to continue improving this summer in order to represent the U.S. and Hawai'i well at the comp."
Kyle Gion was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i, but currently studies Biochemical Engineering at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Kyle is the current US record holder in Dynamic, the youngest in US Freediving history. Kyle was an alternate on the USA Freediving Team in 2012. Kyle states, “I was so happy to participate in 2012 in Nice. I am super stoked to be able to represent Hawai’i and the US as a primary member of the team this year.”
Jonathan Lata is originally from New Hampshire and is now based in Maui, Hawai’i. Jonathan is new to competitive freediving and recently competed in the Freedive Paradise competition in Hawai’i. He is an avid spearfishman. Jonathan commented, “Being a member of the USA Freediving Team is incredible. I am looking forward to helping the cause and making the experience for all of us the best we can while representing the US.”
The team will face off against an international cast of teams from around the world. The best men and women’s team will be crowned the World Champions. The results of three athlete performances for each team in Constant Weight, Dynamic, and Static are totaled for the competition. The total points of three competitors for each country are added together then combined for the three disciplines to determine each team’s point total. The top three men and women’s teams will be awarded medals.
The USA Freediving Team is actively looking for major and minor sponsorship and donations. Donations can be made at the Team website. http://worldsteam.usfreediving.org/
The AIDA Team Freediving World Championships is a biannual event that brings the world’s best freediving national teams together to compete in three events: Constant Weight, Static, and Dynamic. The top male and female national teams will be known as the World Champion. For more information about this year’s event in Sardinia check out http://www.blueworldchamp.it/
AIDA recognizes eight categories of freediving (for information on all of the categories take a look at the website). Static challenges the athlete to hold their breath for time. The athlete lays face down on the surface of the pool and holds their breath for the longest time possible. Dynamic challenges the freediver to swim as far as they can with the aid of fins or a monofin on a single breath of air. Constant Weight challenges the athlete to dive as deep as they can and return to the surface while holding their breath with the use of fins or a monofin.
For more information about US Freediving and the USA Freediving Team please visit the website. http://www.usfreediving.org Updates will be coming soon.
US Freediving will have a full team at the World Championships in Sardinia.